In The Field

Lepton Photon 2009: Hint of a Higgs?

cdf.JPGSo nearly all of the talks at this conference have been reviews — not surprising, given the paucity of fresh data in the field. But there is one machine still chugging along — the Tevatron — and new results were presented by each of the main experiments, CDF and DZero. The new Higgs search results weren’t all that surprising, just incremental advances on the last big rollout of results in the spring. But let’s look at the latest results for CDF in the plot here. You can see that, even without combining their data together for a joint analysis, the individual teams are getting close to excluding certain ranges of Higgs masses. In particular, it is interesting how the plot shows observed values exceeding the expected values, especially in the low mass regime around 120 GeV — precisely the region where many theorists expect to find the Higgs. Could this be the beginning of a signal? CDF spokesman Rob Roser says it’s only a one-sigma difference from expectation — barely a blip on the radar in the physics world. But nonetheless, he says it’s a motivation to his team. This is precisely the part of the energy spectrum where the LHC is the worst at detecting the Higgs — a place where the LHC will need a year or two of data to say anything. So it helps give Tevatron continued justification to run in 2011. And it means that, if the Higgs is in fact a low-mass particle, the race for priority is still on.

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