Physicists on experiments at the Large Hadron Collider announced today that they have observed a new particle. Whether the particle has the properties of the predicted Higgs boson remains to be seen.
Several Stony Brook faculty members are among hundreds of scientists and graduate students from American institutions who have played important roles in the search for the Higgs at the LHC. They include John Hobbs, Professor of Physics; Robert L. McCarthy, Professor of Physics; Michael Rijssenbeek Professor of Physics; and Dmitri Tsybychev, Assistant Professor of Physics.
More than 1,700 people from U.S. institutions — including 89 American universities and seven U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories — helped design, build and operate the LHC accelerator and its four particle detectors. The United States, through DOE’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation, provides support for research and detector operations at the LHC and also supplies computing for the ATLAS and CMS experiments.
The CMS and ATLAS experiments in December announced seeing tantalizing hints of a new particle in their hunt for the Higgs, the missing piece in the Standard Model of particle physics. Since resuming data-taking in March 2012, the CMS and ATLAS experiments have more than doubled their collected data. The statistical significance of the earlier hints has grown.
“What has been announced today could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of scientists and nations throughout the world in seeking an understanding of the fundamental laws of nature,” said Ed Seidel, NSF’s assistant director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences. “If the particle announced today at CERN is confirmed to be the Higgs boson, this represents a keystone in our knowledge of the elementary forces and particles that exist in our universe.”
The Standard Model of particle physics has proven to explain correctly the elementary particles and forces of nature through more than four decades of experimental tests. But it cannot, without the Higgs boson, explain how most of these particles acquire their mass, a key ingredient in the formation of our universe
Official CERN release: http://press.web.cern.ch/press/PressReleases/Releases2012/PR17.12E.htm