What Now For The Higgs Boson?

For a report on ABC’s Catalyst program (http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/), I visited the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to find out what is being done now that the Higgs Boson has been discovered.

Although its mass has been measured around 125-126 GeV most of the other properties of the particle remain unknown. Its spin appears to be 0 or 2 but more results are required to nail this down. If it is the standard model Higgs, the spin should be 0, resulting in a fairly symmetric distribution of decay products in the detectors.

We may know this year if it’s not the standard model Higgs – this would be the case if it doesn’t decay into specific particles with the expected frequency. However if it is the standard model Higgs, it may take many more years to be certain. The large hadron collider will be shut down in 2013 for upgrades so that higher energies up to 14 TeV can be tested. Right now the LHC is operating at 8 TeV. The next announcement is expected in December.

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