As the co-leader of the DZero project, Wood led a team of scientists who recently announced the observation of previously unobservable ZZ diboson particles.
The properties of the ZZ diboson make its discovery a necessary precursor to determining whether the Higgs boson does indeed exist. The Higgs boson is the only hypothetical particle in the Standard Model of particle physics that has not yet been observed.
DZero is an international collaboration of 600 scientists from 90 institutions in 18 countries who conduct physics research at Tevatron, currently the world’s highest energy particle accelerator. The experiments explore matter by creating an environment where they can observe interactions of protons and antiprotons, which they hope will lead to a better understanding of the fundamentals of matter and our universe. Tevatron is located in Batavia, IL at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy laboratory.
The scientists set out to examine particle collisions at high energies to see what interactions occur. The scientists developed tools to detect the presence of ZZ dibosons, an extremely rare occurrence, from their decays into electrons, muons, and neutrinos. Despite being difficult to detect, the team was able to observe the ZZ dibosons in three proton-antiproton collisions out of more than 200 trillion.
The final analysis, accomplished by a team of 11 physicists – five of whom are from Northeastern – brought this result to its completion. In addition to Prof. Wood, the Northeastern team included Associate Professor Emanuela Barberis, Ph.D., Postdoctoral research associates Gianluca Cerminara, Ph.D., and Gavin Hesketh, Ph.D., and graduate student Gabriel Facini, all in the physics department. The other schools involved with the final analysis included SUNY – Stony Brook, the University of Manchester, SUNY – Buffalo and the Institute of High Energy Physics, Russia.
“This result is very exciting and it is one of the last stepping stones on the route to possible detection of the elusive Higgs boson,” said Wood.
Jenny Eriksen | Newswise Science News
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