WSU Presents Preliminary Results for 'God' Particle


DETROIT — At a seminar held at CERN Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented their latest preliminary results in the search for the long sought Higgs ("God") particle. Both experiments observe a new particle in the mass region around 125-126 GeV.

A team of physicists from Wayne State made important contributions to the CMS experiment. The WSU team is led by Paul Karchin, Ph.D. and Robert Harr, Ph.D., professors in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Team members include Caroline Milstene, Ph.D.,  adjunct professor of physics, Mark Mattson, Ph.D., assistant professor research, Alexandre Sakharov, research associate, Alfredo Gutierrez, research engineer and Ph.D. students Christopher Clarke, Sowjanya Gollapinni, Chamath Kottachchi, Pramod Lamichhane and Kevin Siehl.

WSU team members are located at three key locations around the world: the CERN laboratory in Geneva, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois and at Wayne State’s campus. Team members became experts with different parts of the experimental apparatus including the endcap muon detector, the hadron calorimeter and the high-level trigger computing system.

"The results are preliminary but the 5 sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic,” said Joe Incandela, CMS experiment spokesperson. “This is indeed a new particle. We know it must be a boson and it’s the heaviest boson ever found. The implications are very significant and it is precisely for this reason that we must be extremely diligent in all of our studies and cross-checks."

The results presented Thursday are preliminary. They are based on data collected in 2011 and 2012, with the 2012 data still under analysis. Publication of the analyses shown Thursday is expected around the end of July. A more complete picture of Thursday’s observations will emerge later this year after the LHC provides the experiments with more data.

This includes seeing if its properties are as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson or learning if it is something more exotic. The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which humans, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that can be seen, however, appears to be no more than about 4 percent of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96 percent of the universe that remains obscure.

For more information visit or call Julie O'Conner at 734-748-4207.

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