Search results for Higgs boson yield tantalizing results

Australian researchers from ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP) play key role in the search for the Higgs Boson.

Last night at midnight the preliminary results of the ATLAS and CMS experiments were presented.

Their results are based on the analysis of data sufficient to make significant progress in the search for the Higgs boson, but not enough to make any conclusive statement on the existence or non-existence of the elusive Higgs.

Higgs bosons, if they exist, are very short lived and can decay in many different ways. Discovery relies on observing the particles they decay into rather than the Higgs itself. Both ATLAS and CMS have analysed several decay channels, and the experiments see small excesses in the low mass region that has not yet been excluded.

Tantalising hints have been seen in the ranges 116-130 GeV by the ATLAS experiment, and 115-127 GeV by CMS but these are not yet strong enough to claim a discovery.

During 2011 the much-anticipated Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva, operated successfully beyond all hopes, collecting data far in excess of that expected. Scientists across the world are sifting this data for evidence of new physics, looking for the possible 'smoking gun' signals of Higgs bosons if they exist, and if they are being created at the LHC, that is.

Over the coming months, both experiments will be further refining their analyses in time for the particle physics conferences in March. However, a definitive statement on the existence or non-existence of the Higgs will require more data, and is not likely until later in 2012, possibly in time for the ICHEP (International High Energy Physics Conference) to be hosted in Melbourne

Centre researchers have been working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN for a number of years. The ATLAS experiment involves around 3000 scientists from 37 countries. ATLAS is the general-purpose detector used at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

Wed, 14 Dec 2011