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CERN | Geneva | Switzerland

View Blog | Read Bio

Is the big Higgs news for next week?

No! But some surprises might come after the Moriond conference, once theorists have time to combine and interpret the numerous improved results and newly designed analyses that will be presented over the next two weeks. New results will come not only from the Higgs boson searches but also from a plethora of new measurements. This is exactly what theorists need to put the Standard Model to the most stringent tests and find the way to a more encompassing theory. High precision measurements such as those presented by LHCb last year have a huge impact in removing some of the leeway in theoretical models.

The “Rencontres de Moriond” is the first major physics conference of the year. It will start on March 2 at an Italian ski resort. Traditionally, this is where most High Energy physics experiments present their latest results but this year, the conference might come too soon after data-taking stopped at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), not giving enough time to the experiments to produce new results on all topics. The next updates will be prepared for the Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference in May, the European Physical Society Meeting in July and possibly for the CERN Council meeting in December to name a few.

Many people were hoping CMS and ATLAS, the two large multi-purpose experiments operating at the LHC at CERN, would finally announce that the boson discovered last year is really a Higgs boson. Unfortunately, it is still too early to say. Nevertheless, both experiments can be expected to show interesting updates on the new boson mass measurement, decay rates and spin, all of which will provide a clearer picture.

What will be of particular interest will be to see if the small deviations with respect to the Standard Model expectations observed last year by both experiments in various decay rates are going away or increasing. Both ATLAS and CMS obtained sometimes more, sometimes fewer events containing the new boson than what is expected from the Standard Model although these observations are all still consistent with the Standard Model. An excess of events in the two-photon decay rate could indicate that new particles contribute to the process, a possibility that many theorists hope would reveal the presence of supersymmetry.

A summary of all mass and decay rate measurements from ATLAS and CMS as of last December. The signal strength should be one for a Standard Model Higgs boson. The error margins are still too large everywhere to draw any conclusion.

New results will also be presented on searches for new particles such as heavier bosons or supersymmetric particles. Of course, if only one experiment observes a small deviation, the excitement will be limited until the other experiment responds. If both experiments see similar hints, it could get interesting.

Many physics topics will be covered and theorists will provide their latest models and interpretations.  So stay tune over the next two weeks, as I will be reporting all the highlights from this conference as they unfold.

Pauline Gagnon

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