The answer to one of the most exciting questions in particle physics seems almost close enough to touch: Scientists at the Geneva research center CERN have observed first signs of the Higgs boson and now believe that they will soon be able to prove the existence of the elementary particle they have been trying so hard to isolate. It is the last missing piece in the puzzle of the Standard Model of particle physics to explain the structure of matter.
A discovery would be sensational news. "We indeed may have observed the first evidence of the Higgs particle, but it is still too early for a definitive statement," says Professor Dr. Volker Büscher from the Institute of Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany. "And if this evidence turns out to be correct, the data now being analyzed will for the first time provide information about the mass of the Higgs boson," adds Professor Dr. Stefan Tapprogge. At Mainz University, some 50 physicists participate in CERN's research, in particular in the ATLAS experiment, one of two major experiments tasked with searching for the Higgs particle.´
The particle was predicted almost 50 years ago and is named after the British physicist Peter Higgs. Since then, scientists all over the world have been searching for it. Its discovery would explain the origin of the masses of all other elementary particles. Just two years after its start, proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have now delivered the results which raise scientists' expectations. "At this point in time, we can make two statements," Büscher says. "First, if the Higgs boson actually has the characteristics it is assumed to have, then its mass must be between 115 and 131 gigaelectron volts – a much smaller window than just a year ago. Second, we have found a very intriguing excess of events, which could be the first direct evidence of a Higgs boson with a mass around 125 GeV." The experiments at CERN will continue next year. If the evidence is confirmed, the Higgs boson would be about 125 times as heavy as a proton.
In addition to this new data from the ATLAS detector, the second large particle detector at LHC, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), has revealed similar indications. Confirmation would be a dream come true for the scientists working with Volker Büscher and Stefan Tapprogge. Many have dedicated their academic careers to the hunt for the Higgs particle – and are involved right now when things get really exciting. "This is a great moment for us all, and it would be wonderful if the observations were confirmed," says Tapprogge. Scientists are not yet speaking of a discovery, because it is still too early: The number of events observed is not yet large enough to statistically rule out a random effect. However, the fact that two independent experiments, ATLAS and CMS, both point in the same direction, creates excitement and raises hopes that this could indeed be the mysterious Higgs particle.
The Higgs boson was predicted in 1964. Within the theory, it would give mass to the other elementary particles of the Standard Model. According to the physicists, the entire universe is filled with the so-called Higgs field. Depending on how strong the individual elementary particles couple to the Higgs boson, they would have more or less mass. If the missing particle is actually discovered, this would not only confirm a model but would also mark the beginning of a new field of research. The LHC provides ideal conditions to study the Higgs field and the origin of mass in detail, especially with the even higher proton beam energy scheduled for 2014 onwards.
The researchers of the working group for Experimental Particle and Astroparticle Physics (ETAP) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz are involved in particular in the ATLAS experiment, one of two major experiments at the LHC. The ATLAS detector is 46 meters long, 25 meters high, and 25 meters wide. It is able to detect and precisely measure new particles produced during proton collisions. A total of approximately 3,000 researchers from all over the world are taking part in the ATLAS experiment.
The work of the ETAP group is integrated into the Cluster of Excellence Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter (PRISMA), which has successfully made it into the final selection round of the German Federal Excellence Initiative.
A new force for optical tweezers awakens
19.06.2019 | University of Gothenburg
View of the Earth in front of the Sun
19.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.
Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
19.06.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.06.2019 | Information Technology
19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences