Six Questions About the Higgs Boson With UCR Professor Gail Hanson

Uploaded by ucriverside on 11.07.2012

The Higgs Boson is the one missing link that we had
in what we call the standard model
which explains everything we know
so far about
fundamental particles
and fundamental interactions with these particles
And for forty years
we've been looking for the one missing link because the Higgs Boson
is needed to explain
why particles have mass
and without that
the theory
doesn't work. So
it's a wonderful thing, it's a big accomplishment for many many people
that we finally found it.
If you've been hunting for something for forty years,
wouldn't you be excited?
It's a hunt. It's a search.
It's something that has
a very important impact,
but it's also just the hunt.
Trying to find this.
For so many years we've been
searching for it, and
many people have spent their lives working on it, and that we've finally found
it is
a wonderful victory.
Well, if it's the Higgs Boson, then that means that we understand
the model that we
thought we understood that explains
interactions of particles.
If it turns out to be
not the Higgs Boson, well there
are a couple of cases, I guess. One is that it's a Higgs Boson,
but a Higgs Boson within a more complicated version of what you could
call a standard model.
For example, there could be
more than one Higgs Boson.
That would be very important if that turns out to be the case.
And in some of these theories the lightest of the Higgs Boson looks very
much like the standard model Higgs Boson.
So we have to do some
clever work
to find out
if the kinds of things that that model predicts, and the standard model by
itself does not predict,
could be the case.
So this will be a big hunt
by itself. But at least now we have something to play with.
I think that this is a very good use of money because this is
something very fundamental about the way our universe works.
Without this,
we simply
cannot understand.
And if we want to understand, isn't that a good use of the money?
This is something that a civilized world should
be doing. Not only searching for things like the Higgs Boson, but other
sorts of basic research and other cultural
aspects of
music and art are
also important.
That's one of the things we do. That's what makes us civilized.
There's another aspect to this which is this search for the Higgs Boson has
brought together physicists from
all over the world.
Many countries working together
on this search, on this physics. And, to me,
that in itself
is a very worthwhile thing.
We can say that we all shared in this,
and there are not too many things that you can mention
that are like that.
You know, this is not like one country against another country.
It's everyone working together for some common goal.
That's kind of a big victory for mankind, isn't it?
UC Riverside was one of the founding members of CMS. I actually wasn't here then.
I was working on something else called the superconducting supercollider at the
time, but UC Riverside was involved in the original design of CMS,
and they worked on a design of the muon detector.
Then when I came here, I've been here for twelve years,
I worked on the Silicon
Tracker which is the--
if you think of the muon detector as outer tracker,
you can think of the silicon tracker as the inner tracker.
So that in the end you can connect tracks.
That's where you see where the charged particles go from the inner part to the
outer part.
So we're all working together.
There are other parts of the detector, there's another group here that works
on the hadron calorimeter.
This is something that measures the energies of particles in between
the silicon tracker and
the muon tracker. Not all particles make it
out to the muon tracker.
But you can measure some of their energies in this thing called the hadron calorimeter
including some neutral particles that you don't see in the central tracker,
because they have to be charged.
You have people working on the Higgs
and also on, I think I mentioned, supersymmetry.
This is the theory in which there could be more than one Higgs
We have people who are working on that search
I myself working on the Higgs
and supersymmetry,
because, okay, the Higgs is standard model, but maybe there's something more,
supersymmetry is interesting as well.
And we have people who are also studying
the heaviest fork, the top fork.
Being a scientist,
what we'd like to do is move on to the next questions. So studying this Higgs
that now we have--
sort of we've captured it, right?
We can study it to death.
We can find out whether it is really what we thought it was, or whether
there's something more subtle and there's something more.
And in addition of course we'll do the others physics that we're doing as well.
So, you know, here we've capture it.
It's like we've captured some, I don't know,
wild animal we've been looking for for so long.
And we could study it, so that'll be fun.