Higgs seminar 2012

30 06 2012

This year sees the International Conference on High Energy Physics, or ICHEP. Hundreds of physicists will flock to Melbourne, Australia, to get the latest news on physics results from around the world. This includes the latest searches for the Higgs boson, the final piece of the Standard Model. CERN will hold a seminar where ATLAS and CMS will present their results. I’ll be liveblogging the event, so join me on the day!

Wednesday 4th July 2012 09:00.
(Other timezones: 00:00 PDT / 03:00 EDT / 07:00 GMT / 08:00 BST /09:00 CET / 17:00 VIC)

Meeting link: https://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=197461
Webcast link: http://webcast.cern.ch/
Follow on twitter: @aidanatcern @sethzenz





[blog post] Why we shouldn’t combine Higgs searches across experiments

28 06 2012

Right now both the ATLAS and CMS experiments are working around the clock to get results ready for the upcoming International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP). What happens when we have a big conference around the corner? We try to analyze as much of the data we have, of course! With all this pressure to get as much out of the data as possible it’s tempting to move too quickly and do what we can to get a discovery, but now is not the time to rush things.

A typical Higgs-like event at CMS (CMS experiment)

A typical Higgs-like event at CMS (CMS experiment)

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[blog post] What next for the Higgs?

12 06 2012

There’s a good chance that there will be a Higgs discovery “just around the corner”, so it’s time to look to the future to see where to go next with Higgs analyses. At the very least, we need to know the mass of the Higgs boson so that we can manufacture the next big experiment, a TeV scale linear collider (TLC). Without knowing the mass of the Higgs boson we can’t determine the center of mass energy of such an collider and that would severely delay development. Given that, we need to have a discovery before the LHC shuts down for 2013, so we need to get moving!

Simulation of a field inside a resonator at ILC, a contender for the next collider for Higgs physics (ILC/DESY)

Simulation of a field inside a resonator at ILC, a contender for the next collider for Higgs physics (ILC/DESY)

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[blog post] How to discover new physics

2 06 2012

The biggest news at CIPANP 2012 for particle physicists seems to be coming from the “low” energy frontier, at energies in the ballpark of 10GeV and lower. This may come as a surprise to some people, after all we’ve had experiments working at these energies for a few decades now, and there’s a tendency to think that higher energies mean more potential for discovery. The lower energy experiments have a great advantage over the giants at LHC and Tevatron, and this is richer collection of analyses.

There’s a big difference between discovering a new phenomenon and discovering new physics, which is something that most people (including physicists!) don’t appreciate enough. Whenever a claim of new physics is made we need to look at the wider implications of the idea.

The unitary triangle after Moriond 2012 (CKMFitter)

The unitary triangle after Moriond 2012 (CKMFitter)

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[blog post] Higgs update (CIPANP 2012)

1 06 2012

Now that we’re in the conference season we’re treated to the latest results from the LHC and Tevatron. For now we focus on squeezing as much as we can from the 2011 data, so it’s a great time to look at the status of the Higgs searches. We’ll see some of the 2012 results at ICHEP in July (as summer abruptly turns into winter, with ICHEP being held in Australia.) Until then we must be content with what we can see with the data up to the end of 2011.

The electroweak fit (arXiv:1107.0975v1 hep-ph)

The electroweak fit, constraining the Higgs boson mass (arXiv:1107.0975v1 hep-ph)

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[blog post] It’s conference season again!

1 06 2012

Greetings from Florida! The summer conference season has just started, and on both sides of the Atlantic, in Florida and France, physicists are meeting to share the latest news from the LHC and the Tevatron. I’m at the Eleventh Conference on the Intersections of Particle and Nuclear Physics (CIPANP 2012), and with 70 parallel sessions, 10 plenary sessions, and 64 posters there’s a lot to explore here! While the Higgs boson is a hot topic, it’s not the main focus of the conference, topics include neutrino physics, cosmology, nuclear physics, dark matter and hadronic structure. Physicists are chatting over coffee, catching up on gossip and rumors, and trying to find the time to fit in the most interesting talks.

I delivered my talk yesterday (a whirlwind tour of Higgs bosons decaying to final states with tau leptons) so I can now relax and enjoy the rest of the conference. Given the diverse nature of CIPANP this is a great opportunity to find out about the other areas of physics. In the very low mass region there are extremely stringent tests of the Standard Model which keep getting better. It’s easy to forget that the most precise tests are not found at the high energy frontier, so hearing from colleagues who work with muons and neutrinos is vital.

Presenting my talk

Presenting my talk

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