29 April 2014

Research inspired by Ciaran Williams and collaborators makes front-page news at CERN

With the discovery of the Higgs particle at CERN it is now crucial to determine with high accuracy the precise properties of this new particle, and see, in particular, if it really is the Higgs particle predicted by the Standard Model.

Measuring its width to high accuracy is absolutely essential. Perhaps surprisingly to many, the Standard Model prediction is that it should be very narrow, around just 4 MeV (this should be compared to, for example, its mass which has been found to be near 125 GeV).

Inspired by theoretical advances by Assistant Professor Ciaran Williams from the Discovery Center and collaborators John Campbell and Keith Ellis from Fermilab, the limits of the Higgs particle has now been reduced by a factor of 200 from its original first rough bound of around 3 GeV. This remarkable development, which tests the Standard Model at a very subtle level, was front-page news at CERN last week when it reported on new analysis based on the CMS experiment.