We have a Higgs!

So it’s very much worth noting that there are some new announcements from earlier this week concerning last years’ landmark discovery at the Large Hadron Collider. The news is that a Higgs particle was discovered. There were several news stories about it in the last few days. This might be a bit confusing, and many of you are thinking that this is recycling news from last year concerning the discovery of the Higgs. It is not recycling. If you go back and look at the results that were announced last year, there was an important note of caution, notable in the fact that the particle discovered was referred to as “Higgs-like”. More analysis was needed to be sure that it was indeed a particle that fits the name Higgs. Well, that analysis has been done, with more data included and so forth, and both experiments (CMS and ATLAS) are now sure that they are seeing a Higgs particle, and indeed it is one that is very close to what you’d expect for the Standard Model of particle physics.

The latter is is important and interesting to note, since many people expect that there has to be physics beyond the Standard Model (there is too much about it that is unsatisfyingly “just so”, and just plain unexplained), and hopes are that such new physics could show up in the physics of the Higgs, since the mechanism is so fundamental to many aspects of observable physics. So whatever the new physics is, it is hiding a bit more cleverly than the current experimental probing can uncover. Whether or not is a lone Higgs, whether it might have cousins or other relatives (particles accompanying the Higgs is one of the ways new physics can show up) is for future LHC work to try to uncover. I recommend reading the blog posts by Pauline Gagnon, Matt Strassler, and Jester, for more on the content of the Moriond announcements of last week.

-cvj

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