FIU physics professors comment on new Higgs boson data

By Ayleen Barbel Fattal

According to results announced March 14 at the Rencontres de Moriond conference in La Thuile, Italy, the particle discovered last summer by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is closer to being identified as a Higgs boson – the particle linked to the mechanism that gives mass to elementary particles.

“This is very exciting for us,” said professor Pete E. C. Markowitz from the Department of Physics.”This new data means that mankind understands our surroundings at an incredibly detailed level – something which has never before been done.”

Markowitz along with two other FIU physics professors – Jorge L. Rodriguez, and Stephan Linn – and their students helped design, build and operate the LHC accelerator with the Compact Muons Solenoid (CMS) experiment. CMS is a general-purpose detector designed to run at the highest luminosity at the LHC, which will collide beams of high-energy protons into each other. A grant awarded to FIU’s Center for High Energy Physics Research and Education Outreach from the National Science Foundation supports this CMS collaboration.

The CMS and ATLAS collaborations at CERN’s LHC presented these preliminary new results based on two and a half times more data than was available for the discovery announcement last summer.

Although scientists will need to analyze even more data before they can conclusively declare the new particle is the Standard Model Higgs boson, the results announced today bolster scientists’ confidence that the particle they discovered is indeed the Standard Model Higgs.