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.
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.
Yivsam Azgad | idw
Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope
13.12.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences