A hunting we will go… August 5, 2008Posted 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!