Fermilab Closes in on Higgs Boson

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 by Sukrit Tagged: , ,

Particle Physicists hunting for the ever elusive Higgs Boson reported their latest findings at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Paris. The rumors raging over the internet over the last couple of weeks have been proven right in some way. Although the Higgs has not been observed, scientists from Fermilab have narrowed the range of its possible mass. The results rule out about one quarter of the previous mass range for the Higgs and boost the chances that it will be rather lightweight-and therefore more difficult to detect.

The Higgs Boson holds the Standard Model together and bestows mass upon the other particles- hence its importance. The Standard Model does not predict the mass of the Higgs Boson but places restrictions on it. A Higgs heavier than about 140 GeV/C is more likely to decay into pairs of Z or W bosons, which would cause a distinct signal in the LHC’s detectors. By contrast, a lighter Higgs would favour a decay to b–quarks, which would be more difficult to see against the background of other events.

The latest from the Tevatron collider at Fermilab in Chicago eliminates masses in the 158–175 GeV/C2 range to a confidence of 95%. When combined with previous searches for the Higgs and constraints imposed by the Standard Model, the Higgs mass is most likely be in the 114–158 GeV/C2 or the 175–185 GeV/C2 range.If the Higgs weighs in towards the bottom of the 114–158 GeV/C2range it could be five or more years before the LHC finds the particle. On the other hand, if it is at the top of this range – or at 175–185 GeV/C2 – its existence could be established within a year or so. There is a faint possibility that the higgs may be found in the vast mass of data collected at Tevatron , and efforts are on to delay it planned 2011 shutdown.

Given results from the LHC and Fermilab, scientists continue to discuss new colliders, such as the International Linear Collider. Unlike the Tevatron and the LHC, which spin particles in a circle and then collide them, the International Linear Collider will force electrons and their antimatter-pair, positrons, to face off in a straight, approximately 20-mile long tube. Researchers say the collider would complement ongoing research at the LHC, by giving scientists a less powerful but cleaner look at the data, in part because the linear setup will ensure that particles that didn’t smash in the initial collision won’t continue circulating through the detector. They hope to start building the detector in 2012, but it will require international funding, amounting to $12.85 billion.



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