Physics

Weighing the Options

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1180
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5970.1180-a
CREDIT: FRED ULLRICH/FERMILAB

Ever since the theoretical discovery of the Higgs mechanism, which endows particles with mass, the experimental evidence for the existence of the elusive Higgs boson has been a prime objective of particle physics. As the Standard Model does not predict the mass of the Higgs boson, the search has had to be undertaken in a wide parameter space, which has since been constrained to between approximately 115 and 190 GeV as a result of both direct (using the large electron positron collider at CERN) and indirect measurements. Now, Aaltonen et al. have combined the searches for the Higgs at the two multipurpose detectors at the Tevatron facility, CDF and D0. To detect the Higgs, they concentrated on the decay channel resulting in one positive and one negative W boson (the mediators of the weak interaction), which is favored if the Higgs mass is above 130 GeV; all Higgs production channels were taken into account. Even though they did not observe the Higgs boson, they were able to exclude a region of Higgs mass between 162 and 166 GeV using sophisticated neural network algorithms to distinguish between observed signal and background events. These analyses were performed with approximately 5 fb−1 worth of data; the Tevatron is scheduled to close when 12 fb−1 has been reached, so more results are yet to come.

Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 061802 (2010).

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