Scientists cast fresh light on Higgs particle

Edinburgh scientists have helped discover new insights into a fundamental physical particle.

Results from researchers at CERN reveal a new physical mechanism by which the Higgs boson can be formed.

The Higgs particle can be produced by interaction with another fundamental subatomic particle, known as the top quark.

Massive particle

The top quark is the most massive of all known fundamental particles.

Its interactions with the Higgs boson are key to scientists’ understanding of why many fundamental building blocks of the Universe have a mass which, in turn, is key to understanding why the Universe has a structure.

The new development corroborates physicists’ theoretical understanding of the Higgs particle and sets constraints for future findings in particle physics.

Collaborative study

Researchers and students from the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who collaborate on the ATLAS experiment at CERN, played a key role in the finding.

It was made following analysis of data from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The Higgs boson is named after Professor Peter Higgs, who predicted its existence when working as a researcher at the University in the 1960s.

It was discovered at CERN in 2012, and Professor Higgs was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 for its prediction.

Supporting theory

The findings from the two experiments are consistent with the Standard Model of Particle Physics – a theory that unites fundamental elements of the science. It also gives scientists clues on new avenues of research.

This observation is a valuable new insight into the behaviour of the Higgs boson and is a validation of the theory that Peter Higgs and others developed. It validates much of our understanding of particle physics and points towards new areas of research, such as Higgs-Higgs particle interactions.

Professor Victoria MartinSchool of Physics and Astronomy

Related links

School of Physics and Astronomy