Higgs Boson was Observed Decaying Into b Quark Pairs

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Back in 2012, the discovery of the Higgs boson was most certainly a huge achievement of the Standard Model. We know by now that the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism is able to solve the evident theoretical impossibility of weak vector bosons to have mass. Additionally, the Higgs field can be used to supply mass to charged quarks and leptons (fermions).

The 2018 International Conference on High Energy Physics that took place in Seoul on July 9 can provide us with some observations related to the Higgs boson decaying into pairs of b quarks, as preliminary results were reported by the ATLAS experiment. The decay of the Higgs boson into a set of b quarks, which is believed to make up 60% of all possible decays, has been difficult to track down until now.

What took so long to find some evidence?

The most important reason is that just one pair of particle jets that originate from the fragmentation of b quarks is created following the production process for the Higgs boson (in proton-proton interactions). Therefore, it is extremely hard to tell these particles apart from the formidable background of b-quark pairs that are produced through the strong interaction. In order to solve this problem, the production of the Higgs boson had to be associated with that of a vector boson, W or Z.

Nevertheless, the signal of the Higgs boson remained significantly smaller than the backgrounds emerging from top quark or the production of vector bosons. To come up with a solution, the invariant mass of b quark pairs had to be used. Through certainly advanced analysis, the meaning of the signal was extracted by BDT outputs. Based on these new observations, we can expect the Standard Model to be more and more challenged in the future.

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Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca


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