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A hunting we will go… August 5, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in D0, Higgs, physics.

See that little red blob around 170? That is the Tevatron starting to seriously tackle the final big physics problem left on its plate. Where is the Higgs? The question is — will it finish the job before the LHC starts producing real physics?

The numbers on that plot are the mass of Higgs boson, the final bit of the Standard Model we physicists haven’t directly observed. The last experiment to search for the Higgs were the LEP experiments. As you can see, they searched up to 114 GeV. The Tevatron is searching from 114 up as high as it can go — it so happens the first bit it was able to exclude was around 170 GeV in mass.

The Higgs mechanism is what gives most particles mass. If it was absent from our theory then many masses (and other things) we have already measured would be wrong. That does not mean, by the way, that the Higgs has to exist – but something like it does have to exist. The Standard Model Higgs is just the simplest explanation that we came up with fix the masses. If that whole range is searched and nothing is found – that would be huge news. And very puzzling!

Press Release Here. And combined CDF and D0 note describing the analysis here.


1. Big Vlad - August 5, 2008

Hi there, any idea when we can expect the next set of results from the tevatron? Is there data sitting waiting to be analysed?

2. gordonwatts - August 5, 2008

Results normally come out in waves — timed to the big conference schedule. Winter conferences are the next big ones. However, there are a few results that missed this round of conferences that were close — and so may come out soon afterwards. You’ll have to keep your ears open, I’m afraid.

And everyone is definately sitting on more data than is being presented. http://www-bdnew.fnal.gov/operations/lum/lum.html tells you about how much each experiment has received. The results that are being shown now are about 3 fb-1 – so about 25% of the data has not been released. I think everyone plans (hopes) on seeing that next big batch of data out in time for Winter conferences.

3. Not Even Wrong » Blog Archive » ICHEP 2008 - August 5, 2008

[…] More about this from Gordon Watts here. […]

4. How Hard Will The Hunt Be? « Life as a Physicist - August 6, 2008

[…] Yesterday I mentioned that the Tevatron experiments had finally started to rule out the Higgs. I thought I’d post another plot that shows exactly how hard it will be – and so gives you an idea of how much hope the Tevatron has of actually catching the Higgs. Click on the plot to get an enlarged version of the jpeg (here for details). […]

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