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
Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators
14.12.2018 | DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet
14.12.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy