10 years of discovery with the Higgs boson

July 4, 2022. The ATLAS collaboration at CERN has released its most comprehensive overview of the Higgs boson. the new paper, published in the journal Nature, comes exactly ten years after ATLAS announced the discovery of the Higgs boson. To mark this anniversary, a special all-day symposium on the Higgs boson is currently underway at CERN.

“The ATLAS collaboration has made huge strides in understanding the Higgs boson over the past decade,” said Guillaume Unal, ATLAS physics coordinator. “Today’s article summarizes these insights and presents a detailed map of the interactions of the Higgs boson with other particles and its properties.”

The results are based on the full data set collected by the ATLAS experiment during Run 2 (2015-2018) of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The wealth of data allowed researchers to study the Higgs boson in unprecedented detail. In addition to these highlights (see the timeline below), the CERN symposium will present brand new investigations into the self-interaction of the Higgs boson. Studies of this property may shed light on the shape of the energy potential of the Higgs field, which controls the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism that gave mass to elementary particles a split second after the Big Bang.

“The successful decade of exploration of the Higgs boson would not have been possible without the exceptional performance of the LHC and the ATLAS detector, as well as the data reconstruction and calibration chains after the data acquisition, optimized over countless hours by skilled and dedicated ATLAS ATLAS spokesperson Andreas Hoecker said. “That achievement, along with powerful new analytical approaches and improved theoretical modeling, have ensured that our studies exceed expectations in every aspect.”

The special features of the Higgs boson, as the only elementary scalar particle, have made it the subject of a very rich field of research. “The Higgs sector is directly related to very profound questions related to the evolution of the early Universe and the stability of the vacuum, as well as to the striking mass pattern of matter particles,” says Andreas. “The relationship of each particle to the Higgs boson is special and offers a unique test of the Standard Model. Over the past ten years, we have observed and measured all major production and decay mechanisms of the Higgs boson, as summarized in today’s article.”

The ATLAS collaboration has made huge strides in understanding the Higgs boson over the past decade and has painted a detailed picture of its properties and interactions.

The Higgs boson is also used as an aid in the search for new, unknown phenomena. The new paper from ATLAS provides an up-to-date overview of these searches, including possible decay of the Higgs boson into invisible particles that could make up the dark matter observed in the universe. “Any new particle with mass can interact with the Higgs boson,” Guillaume says. “We could observe these particles directly in special searches or indirectly by accurately measuring the kinematic and symmetry properties of the Higgs boson. New particles occurring in quantum loops could alter these properties from those predicted by the Standard Model.”

While today’s Nature paper draws a detailed map of the Higgs boson, it’s still far from complete. The LHC’s upcoming Run 3, which kicks off tomorrow, will triple the amount of proton collision data ATLAS can examine, giving physicists another chance to piece together the nature of the Higgs boson.

Members of the public are invited to tune in to today’s CERN symposium on the Higgs boson to learn more (watch the webcast here† Seminar talks explore the decades of detector and accelerator innovation needed to search for the Higgs boson, as well as the process and people behind its discovery. The very latest Higgs studies are also featured, with a special focus on the exciting future prospects of LHC Run 3.

About the event display: One of the first Higgs boson candidate events, captured on June 10, 2012 by the ATLAS experiment. The event is consistent with a H→ZZ*→4μ decay. (Image: ATLAS collaboration/CERN)

About the font: To celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson, we switch the font from the ATLAS public website to Comic Sans every year. This is a tribute to the use of Comic Sans in ATLAS’ Higgs announcement slides, presented on July 4, 2012.

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