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Guide to Resources on the Higgs Boson

diagram of the particles in the Standard Model of particle physics

University of Rochester Plays Key Roles in Search for Higgs Boson
July 5, 2012

Completing the Standard Model

The Standard Model of physics, which explains how particles interact, does not explain how those particles acquire mass. But six physicists—including Peter Higgs, namesake of the famed Higgs boson, and Rochester’s Carl Hagen—developed a theory that did provide an answer. In 2010, they won the J.J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics for their amendment of the Standard Model.

On July 4, 2012, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva announced the discovery of a new particle that is “consistent with the Higgs boson,” believed to be responsible for giving other particles their mass


"Global Conservation Laws and Massless Particles"
Professor Carl Hagen's original 1964 article in Physical Review Letters

A Primer on the Standard Model CERN
Everything in the universe is found to be made from twelve basic building blocks called fundamental particles, governed by four fundamental forces. These comprise the Standard Model.

The Higgs: What's The Big Deal? University of Rochester professor and NPR commentator Adam Frank
Now that we have the long-awaited announcement on the Higgs, it's time to ask that other question. You know the question I am talking about, the one that makes so much sense and yet we blue-sky research researchers cringe whenever someone brings it up: So what? What's the big deal? What's it good for?"

An Introduction to the Atlas and CMS experiments CERN
An introduction to the two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider designed to investigate the largest range of physics possible.

scientists at the Large Hadron Collider

Brown University professor Gerald Guralnik, University of Rochester postdoctoral student Pablo Goldenzweig, Univerisity of Rochester Assistant Professor of Physics Aran Garcia-Bellido, University of Rochester Professor of Physics Carl Hagen, Brown University professor Ulrich Heintz visitng the site of the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. (photo by: University of Rochester research associate Roberto Covarelli)


from CERN; extensive glossary at

Accelerating cavity:
Accelerating cavities produce the electric field that accelerates the particles inside particle accelerators. Because the electric field oscillates at radio frequency, these cavities are also referred to as radio-frequency cavities.
A machine in which beams of charged particles are accelerated to high energies. Electric fields are used to accelerate the particles while magnets steer and focus them. Beams can be made to collide with a static target or with each other.
  • A collider is a special type of circular accelerator where beams travelling in opposite directions are accelerated and made to interact at designated collision points.
  • A linear accelerator (or linac) is often used as the first stage in an accelerator chain.
  • A synchrotron is an accelerator in which the magnetic field bending the orbits of the particles increases with the energy of the particles. This makes the particles move in a circular path.
The Antiproton Decelerator, the CERN research facility that produces the low-energy antiprotons.
ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment):
One of the four large experiments that will study the collisions at the LHC.
Every kind of matter particle has a corresponding antiparticle. Charged antiparticles have the opposite electric charge to their matter counterparts. Although antiparticles are extremely rare in the Universe today, matter and antimatter are believed to have been created in equal amounts at the Big Bang.
One of the four large experiments that will study the collisions at the LHC.
The particles in an accelerator are grouped together in a beam. Beams can contain billions of particles and can be divided into discrete portions called bunches. Each bunch is typically several centimetres long and just a few microns wide.
The collective name given to the particles that carry forces between particles of matter.
CARE (Co-ordinated Accelerator Research in Europe):
An EU-supported activity to generate a structured and integrated area in accelerator research and development in Europe.
Cherenkov radiation:
Light emitted by fast-moving charged particles traversing a dense transparent medium faster than the speed of light in that medium.
CLIC (Compact LInear Collider):
A site-independent feasibility study aiming at the development of a realistic technology at an affordable cost for an electron–positron linear collider for physics at multi-TeV energies.
CP violation:
A subtle effect observed in the decays of certain particles that betrays Nature’s preference for matter over antimatter.
Cryogenic distribution line (QRL):
The system used to transport liquid helium around the LHC at very low temperatures. This is necessary to maintain the superconducting state of the magnets that guide the particle beam.
A subatomic particle that contains quarks, antiquarks, and gluons, and so experiences the strong force.
Higgs boson:
A particle predicted by theory. It is linked with the mechanism by which physicists think particles acquire mass.
A meson containing a strange quark (or antiquark). Neutral kaons come in two kinds, long-lived and short-lived. The long-lived ones occasionally decay into two pions, a CP-violating process.
A class of elementary particle that includes the electron. Leptons are particles of matter that do not feel the strong force.
A particle similar to the electron, but some 200 times more massive.
There are two groups of elementary particles, quarks and leptons. The quarks are up and down, charm and strange, top and bottom. The leptons are electron and electron neutrino, muon and muon neutrino, tau and tau neutrino. There are four fundamental forces, or interactions, between particles, which are carried by special particles called bosons. Electromagnetism is carried by the photon, the weak force by the charged W and neutral Z bosons, the strong force by the gluon; gravity is probably carried by the graviton, which has not yet been discovered. Hadrons are particles that feel the strong force. They include mesons, which are composite particles made up of a quark–antiquark pair and baryons, which are particles containing three quarks. Pions and kaons are types of meson. Neutrons and protons (the constituents of ordinary matter) are baryons; neutrons contain one up and two down quarks; protons two up and one down quark.
A property of some materials, usually at very low temperatures, that allows them to carry electricity without resistance. If you start a current flowing in a superconductor, it will keep flowing forever—as long as you keep it cold enough.
A phase of matter characterized by the complete absence of resistance to flow.
A theory that predicts the existence of heavy ‘superpartners’ to all known particles. It will be tested at the LHC.
A particle accererator in which a magnetic field bends the orbits of the particles, which increases their energy. The particles travel in a circular path.
An electronic system for spotting potentially interesting collisions in a particle detector and triggering the detector’s read-out system to record the data resulting from the collision.