MIT Nuclear Science and Engineering
LNSP graduate student Jayson Vavrek will kick off our first LNSP Brown Bag with a presentation on the discovery of the Higgs boson. LNSP Brown Bag talks are informal presentations of on topics of general interest to LNSP members and the public.
In July 2012, two teams at the Large Hadron Collider jointly announced the discovery of a Higgs boson, a spin-0 particle with a mass of ~126 GeV/c2. This finding was achieved after a decades-long experimental search spurred on by theoretical predictions made in part by Peter Higgs, who shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics with his collaborator François Englert. In this talk, the state of high-energy particle physics before the discovery of the Higgs boson is introduced. The Higgs mechanism itself is discussed and its key role in the Standard Model of particle physics is explained at a non-technical level, with mathematical details available for those interested. Experimental searches for the Higgs boson are covered, culminating in the five-sigma discoveries reported by the CMS and ATLAS Collaborations in 2012, and in the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. Finally, the implications of the discovery and the future of high-energy particle physics are discussed.