• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

View Blog | Read Bio

Seriously, I’m Not That Into the Higgs Boson

April Fools’ Day is over, but I’m still not that into the Higgs Boson. There are two reasons for this, one that is particular to me and where I am in my career, and the other more general.

The reason particular to me is that I’m already a fifth year graduate student, and finding the Higgs will take a long time — likely at least a couple of years of running at design luminosity, which will take a while to reach. (Luminosity is a way of measuring how quickly the acclerator is producing collisions.) So no matter how enthusiastic I were about the Higgs boson, it wouldn’t be a good project for me to take on right now; I need a project that I can do with the first year of data, because even then I’ll be taking longer-than-average to graduate.

But the Higgs isn’t my first choice for something to work on later, either, because just finding the Standard Model Higgs Boson won’t be as exciting as it sounds. We know the Higgs Mechanism is real: it relates the masses and interactions of the W and Z bosons to each other, and works extremely well. What we don’t know is what’s really behind that mechanism. The simplest possibility is the Standard Model Higgs field, with one Higgs boson. The next simplest possibility would be a Higgs doublet model, which is the minimum required by Supersymmetry and leads to 5 Higgs particles. (Why five? Well, it’s complicated, but here’s a numerological hint: 4 – 3 = 1 and 2*4 – 3 = 5. Basically, the Higgs field comes with four “degrees of freedom” at a time, but three of them are “eaten” by the W+, W, and Z bosons to make them massive. Then the remaining one(s) become physical Higgs particles. I know it sounds completely crazy, but it’s more or less what the math says.) The Higgs field also might be a composite of some very massive fermions, and only look like the Standard Model at low energies. But anyway, the point is this: if the Higgs boson isn’t the Standard Model version, then there will be other exciting new particles to search for as well. But if it is the Standard Model version, finding it will be more like meeting an old friend than discovering a new particle: we know everything about it already, except its mass.

So personally, I’d rather go straight to searching for new particles, and skip the Higgs entirely.

Share