Thursday, 1 March 2007

Higgs Hunting with Fabio Zwirner

This week's Academic Training was conducted by Fabio Zwirner who talked about The Hunt for the Higgs Particle. There couldn't be more relevant subject in the LHC year 2007. The higgs boson is the only thing predicted by particle theorists that is likely to be discovered. The only thing that seems worth betting money on...

The past trainings gave us an opportunity to admire dynamical, eloquent, American-style lecturing, see here and here. Fabio is certainly not of that kind. His style is more down-to-earth. He prefers enumerating facts to building a story. Too often, he chooses flicking through equations rather than clarifying an overall picture. Nevertheless, Fabio is a high-class specialists in higgs physics and this was showing several times this week. The lectures contain enough interesting material to be labeled recommendable.

The first lecture concentrates on the theory of the higgs mechanism in the standard model. Many technicalities are included, which often results in overloaded transparencies. On the other hand, you get an opportunity to hear about less publicized topics like the custodial symmetry or the triviality bounds. In the second lecture Fabio plunges into extensions of the standard model higgs sectors. 30 minutes of precious time is squandered on the MSSM, which is a bit of a shame. Alternatives are given considerably less time and are treated less fairly. If one accepts the minimal supersymmetry with all its fine-tuning burden, there is no reason to discard technicolor because of the electroweak precision tests. Both require a comparable amount of fine-tuning to satisfy the experimental constraints.

The last, and the best part of of the lectures deals with the higgs phenomenology. The higgs boson production and decay channels are extensively discussed. Then comes the higgs physics program at the Tevatron and the LHC. We get a good overview of how the interesting signals can be extracted from the tons of junk produced in hadron colliders.

The video recordings and the transparencies are here. Enjoy. I'm leaving you with this cool plot showing the higgs production cross-sections at the LHC. We start next year :-)


Anonymous said...

Well, yes we start next year, but I do not expect we will see much for a while... Life is tough at hadron colliders, indeed!


Anonymous said...

I looked at the transparencies and tried to watch the videos. Honest, I really gave it my best shot. I got through the first two. Then I fell into a coma. I'm reporting this only now because that's how long I was passed out.