Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Mass-ive results for scientists homing in on Higgs boson
An international team of researchers, including several from the UK, at the U.S Department of Energy's Fermilab have announced results (link opens in a new window) at the International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Paris, that indicate that the quest to discover the elusive Higgs boson particle has taken a giant leap forward, drawing closer to answering questions on the makeup of the Universe.
These latest results, which were obtained by the scientists at Fermilab's DZero and CDF projects, significantly narrow down the possible mass range of the Higgs boson particle, ruling out a quarter of the mass range that has previously been thought possible.
To obtain the latest Higgs search result, CDF and Dzero's analysts separately sifted through more than 500,000 billion proton-antiproton collisions that each experiment has studied since 2001. After the two groups obtained their independent Higgs search results, they combined their results to produce the joint exclusion limits of the Higgs particle's mass.
Both the DZero and CDF projects have a strong UK involvement which is funded by the STFC.
Stefan Söldner-Rembold, of the University of Manchester, who leads the international DZero Experiment as one of its spokespersons said: "Our latest result is based on about twice as much data as a year and a half ago. As we continue to collect and analyse data, the experiments will either exclude the Standard Model Higgs boson in the entire allowed mass range or we'll go on to see first hints of its existence. There is less and less room for the Higgs boson to hide now."
STFC's Director of Science Programmes, Professor John Womersley, who also formerly led the DZero experiment for several years, said: "There are important pieces missing in our understanding of the basic building blocks of the universe and these results are an important step in learning how our universe works and why it exists. STFC is proud to support the UK scientists who are playing such a strong role this area of research at this key time."
In addition to the announcement of these results, this year's ICHEP in Paris is the first conference where physics results obtained at the Large Hadron Collider have been presented (link opens in a new window). CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, presented measurements from the first three months of successful LHC operation, at an energy three and a half times higher than has previously been achieved at a particle accelerator.
The Higgs boson particle was originally proposed by British theoretical physicist Professor Peter Higgs as a solution to one of the most basic puzzles in particle physics - why some particles possess mass and others do not. Since then scientists could only speculate about the existence of the Higgs particle, but thanks to current research and experiments being carried out at the Large Hadron collider at CERN in Switzerland and the Tevatron Collider at Fermilab in the US, a glimpse of the Higgs boson particle could soon be a closer reality.
Notes to Editors
- Wendy Taylor
STFC Press Officer
Tel: +44 (0)1925 603 232
Fermilab is a national laboratory funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy, operated under contract by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC.
The Dzero experiment consists of a worldwide collaboration of scientists conducting research on the fundamental nature of matter. The experiment is located at the world's premier high-energy accelerator, the Tevatron Collider, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, USA. The research is focused on precise studies of interactions of protons and antiprotons at the highest available energies. It involves an intense search for subatomic clues that reveal the character of the building blocks of the universe.
Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF)
The Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experimental collaboration is committed to studying high energy particle collisions at the world's highest energy particle accelerator. The goal is to discover the identity and properties of the particles that make up the universe and to understand the forces and interactions between those particles.