Observations of a New Particle Compatible with the Long-Sought Higgs Boson

July 05, 2012

The Higgs boson is a fundamental particle introduced by several physicists in the 1960s in the context of developing a theoretical model, the Standard Model Higgs field, which would explain why certain fundamental particles have mass and others do not. The Higgs boson itself is the only particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics that eluded experimental detection till now. Without a Higgs boson, or a similar particle, fundamental particles would not have mass and the world as we know would not exist. Physicists have been looking for the Higgs boson for more than two decades; starting with the LEP experiments at CERN in the 1990s; and then continuing with the Tevatron experiments at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments at CERN.

The Northeastern Experimental Particle Physics (EPP) group:

A central player in the search for fundamental particles and the study of their properties and interactions, the Northeastern Experimental Particle Physics (EPP) group is led by faculty members George Alverson, Emanuela Barberis, and Darien Wood, soon to be joined in fall 2012 by assistant professor Toyoko Orimoto. The EPP faculty plus several post-doctoral research associates and students study fundamental forces and particles at the world’s highest energy particle colliders using two large experiments: the DZero experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron and the CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

On the DZero experiment the group has a long history of work on several components of the detector (muon detectors, silicon vertex tracker, calorimeter trigger) and of leadership positions, including at different times the leadership of several physics groups (top quark physics, electroweak interactions, and searches for the Higgs boson), the leadership of the overall physics effort, and of the experiment itself.  Currently, post-doctoral associate Joe Haley co-leads the group working on standard model Higgs boson searches.

In CMS, the group works on the end cap muon system (EMU), on muon and trigger software, and computing and graphics. The group has a record of leadership in muon detector hardware and software and in searches for physics beyond the standard model, carrying out searches for hypothesized new particles such as leptoquarks, Z’ bosons, and invisibly decaying Higgs bosons, in addition to measurements of standard model processes involving the production of W and Z bosons. Prof. Toyoko Orimoto adds expertise on electromagnetic calorimetry and data analysis with photons. In particular, her work in physics analysis is focused on discoveries with photons in the final state, including the possible discovery of the Higgs boson in the crucial two photon decay channel.

We note with pride the contributions over the years of dozens of Northeastern students working with our group on co-ops at Fermilab and CERN.  These co-op students helped to build and commission the muon detection systems at DZero and CMS, and the trigger at DZero, and are currently involved with upgrades to the CMS detector at CERN.

The NEU EPP group is currently composed of: George Alverson, Emanuela Barberis, and Darien Wood (faculty); Daniele Trocino, and Joseph Haley (post-doctoral associates); Darin Baumgartel, Matthew Chasco, David Nash, Ren-Jie Wang, and Jinzhong Zhang (graduate students); Brant Rumberger, and Daniel King (undergraduate students).

CERN Press Release