UAlbany Physicists Help Analyze the Higgs Boson

University at Albany University at Albany Headlines

An event candidate for the production of a top quark and top antiquark pair in conjunction with a Higgs boson in CMS. (Graphic courtesy CMS/CERN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2018) — New results from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN, Switzerland, reveal how strongly the Higgs boson interacts with the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark, and UAlbany researchers are contributing to the analysis.

The Higgs boson is the keystone of the Standard Model of particle physics, which has been developed over the last 50-60 years. The Higgs boson gives mass to other elementary particles such as quarks and electrons, and its existence is necessary for the theory to give sensible results (i.e., the probability of processes to occur cannot be greater than 100 percent).

The Higgs boson is also seen as a portal to new physics, according to scientists taking part in the ATLAS and CMS research projects. ATLAS, or A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS, and CMS, or Compact Muon Solenoid, are the names given to the two general-purpose detectors in operation at the LHC. While both projects involve studying particle interactions, they use different detection methods in order to produce findings.

Named after Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs, who along with other physicists proposed the existence of the particle in 1964, the Higgs boson’s existence was not confirmed until 2012, when both ATLAS and CMS claimed observation of a new neutral scalar boson, with virtually identical conclusions on its mass.

Since this time, researchers at CERN have sought to determine the precise properties of this new particle, and how it interacts with other particles, most notably the “top quark,” which is the most massive of all observed elementary particles. This is done by observing the production of the Higgs boson in association with a top – anti-top quark pair. The top quark’s large mass (about …

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