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UK researchers contribute to latest Higgs boson breakthrough

4 June 2018

UK scientists are celebrating the latest observation from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN, revealing how strongly the Higgs boson interacts with the heaviest known elementary particle, the top quark, confirming our understanding of the Higgs and setting constraints on new physics.

The observation of this extremely rare process was announced today (Monday 4 June 2018) at the Large Hadron Collider Physics 2018 conference in Bologna, Italy.

These observations will allow physicists to test critical parameters of the Higgs mechanism in the Standard Model of particle physics.

Professor Gavin Davies, a physicist at Imperial College London and CMS-UK Principle Investigator said, “It’s particularly pleasing to see this very challenging observation, a crucial step in characterising the Higgs boson. It really illustrates how we can use the Higgs boson as a portal to new physics. Deepening our understanding of the Higgs boson illuminates some of the greatest mysteries of our universe. We look forward to the larger datasets the LHC is making available.”

Dr Mark Owen, a member of the ATLAS collaboration at the University of Glasgow, helped coordinate part of the work which went into this latest discovery. He added, “This is a remarkable discovery, demonstrating experimentally that the Higgs boson does indeed couple to the top quark – the heaviest known elementary particle.

“Along with colleagues around the world, we are now all looking forward to analysing the data that ATLAS is currently collecting and being able to learn more about the connection between the Higgs boson and the top quark.”

ATLAS and CMS are two of the four main experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. They are both general purpose detectors designed to investigate a wide range of physics including supersymmetry, extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter. The scientific goals for the two experiments are the same, but they use different technical solutions. These similar science goals, but different designs allow the two experiments to cross-check results and confirm exciting discoveries such as a Higgs boson.

Visit the CERN website for the full story.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation, co-ordinates and manages the UK’s involvement and subscription with CERN. The UK’s influence on both CERN Council and CERN Finance Committee is coordinated through the UK Committee on CERN (UKCC).

UK membership of CERN gives our physicists and engineers access to the experiments and allows UK industry to bid for contracts, UK nationals to compete for jobs and research positions at CERN, and UK schools and teachers to visit. UK scientists hold many key roles at CERN. Firms in the UK win contracts for work at CERN worth millions of pounds each year. The impact of winning contracts is often even greater as it enables companies to win business elsewhere.

About CERN
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world's leading laboratories for particle physics. The Organization is located on the French-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Cyprus, Serbia and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. The European Union, Japan, JINR, the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the United States of America currently have Observer status.

Last updated: 05 June 2018


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