Weizmann Institute scientists make significant contributions to LHC findings

December 13, 2011

Today's announcement from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN points to promising signs for the existence of the Higgs boson. Weizmann Institute scientists have been prominent participants in ATLAS, one of the two experiments to produce results in the search for this elementary particle. Prof. Giora Mikenberg was the ATLAS Muon Project leader for many years and now heads the Israeli LHC team. Prof. Ehud Duchovni heads the Weizmann Atlas group as well as a small group looking for SUSY signals. Prof Eilam Gross is currently the ATLAS Higgs physics group convener. All are members of the Weizmann Institute's Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department, and they have been part of the effort to find the Higgs since 1987.

ATLAS and its sister experiment in the LHC, CMS, have been searching for the Higgs boson, thought to be the particle that gives all the other elementary particles their mass. The Higgs is predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which provides a framework for all of the subatomic particles in nature. The Higgs is the one piece of the Standard Model that has not been proven to exist, and some scientists believe that the model will have to be rethought if the Higgs is not found.

Gross: 'In 2011 the LHC particle accelerator in Geneva collided over 300 trillion (a million million) protons. All of that enormous energy (7 trillion electron volts) went into the effort to produce the Higgs boson. But in each collision, other similar particles are created and there is no way to foresee what we will find. The chances of a collision producing a Higgs boson are so small that only about a hundred are expected to be observed over the course of a year.'

Finding possible signs of a Higgs involved looking for statistical anomalies in the data (compared to what the results would look like if there were no Higgs) in the expected mass range. The problem is that once these anomalies appear, the scientists had to rule out statistical flukes. But several weeks ago, it was noticed that 'extra' events in the probable Higgs range had accumulated in the experimental results during 2011. Gross: 'We couldn't believe our eyes -- we looked at the screen for ages before we started to digest what we were seeing. In the past three weeks, the entire Higgs search team in the ATLAS experiment have checked and rechecked the results from every possible angle. We checked for errors... for bugs in the program.'

The ATLAS results suggest that there could be a Higgs boson with a mass of around 126 GeV, and that there is just a 1 in 5000 chance that the extra events they observed in this particular mass are the result of a statistical fluke and not the creation of a Higgs boson. Such fluctuations might still disappear, so the proof is still not at all conclusive, but scientists believe that it bodes well for the next round of LHC collisions, set to begin in April 2012.
-end-
Prof. Ehud Duchovni's research is supported by the Friends of Weizmann Institute in memory of Richard Kronstein; the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics; and the Yeda-Sela Center for Basic Research. Prof. Duchovni is the incumbent of the Professor Wolfgang Gentner Chair of Nuclear Physics.

Prof. Eilam Gross's research is supported by the Friends of Weizmann Institute in memory of Richard Kronstein.

Prof. Giora Mikenberg's research is supported by the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for High Energy Physics, which he heads. Prof. Mikenberg is the incumbent of the Lady Davis Chair of Experimental Physics.

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,700 scientists, students, technicians and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.

Weizmann Institute news releases are posted on the World Wide Web at http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il, and are also available at http://www.eurekalert.org.

Weizmann Institute of Science

Related Higgs Boson Articles from Brightsurf:

Through the nanoscale looking glass -- determining boson peak frequency in ultra-thin alumina
'Mysterious' vibrational properties of nanoscale glasses studied by subjecting novel (and slightly explosive) particles of aluminium wrapped in a thin alumina skin to neutron spectroscopy measurement at ANSTO.

In search of the Z boson
At the Japanese High-energy Accelerator Research Organization, KEK, in Tsukuba, about 50 kilometers north of Tokyo, the Belle II experiment has been in operation for about one year now.

Belle II yields first results in search of the Z' boson
The Belle II experiment started about one year ago. Physical Review Letters has now published the initial results of the detector.

Electrically charged higgs versus physicists: 1-0 until break
The last missing particle of the Standard Model, the Higgs boson, was discovered in 2012 in the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

On the trail of the Higgs Boson
In a quest to understand the production mechanisms for the Higgs Boson, Silvia Biondi from the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Bologna, Italy investigated the traces of a rare process, called ttH, in which the Higgs Boson is produced in association with a pair of elementary particles referred to as top quarks.

New finding of particle physics may help to explain the absence of antimatter
With the help of computer simulations, particle physics researchers may be able to explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the Universe.

NYU Physicists develop new techniques to enhance data analysis for large hadron collider
NYU physicists have created new techniques that deploy machine learning as a means to significantly improve data analysis for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's most powerful particle accelerator.

SMU physicist explains the latest Higgs boson announcement in layman's terms
The discovery of the Higgs boson transforming as it decays into bottom quarks is a big step forward in the quest to understand how the Higgs particle enables fundamental particles to acquire mass.

Higgs particle's favorite 'daughter' comes home
In a finding that caps years of exploration into the tiny particle known as the Higgs boson, researchers have traced the fifth and most prominent way that the particle decays into other particles.

Researchers detect Higgs boson coupling with top quark
Detection of Higgs-top quark interaction at LHC by CMS and Atlas international collaborations, with Brazilian researchers participating, confirms theoretical predictions of Standard Model of particle physics.

Read More: Higgs Boson News and Higgs Boson Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.