Horror Vacui - The Higgs Boson and the Fate of our Vacuum
- Wade Fisher, MSU Physics & Astronomy
Thursday, October 31, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415
Predicted five decades ago, the Higgs mechanism provides a means to explain the origin of elementary particle masses. This mechanism suggests that the quantum vacuum is filled with a fluctuating condensate of Higgs bosons, with which particles interact to gain mass. The recent discovery of the Higgs boson has been hailed as a historic triumph of quantum field theory and has given the field of physics new insight into the nature of our universe. This successful connection of theory prediction and experimental discovery seems like serendipity, but the story does not yet appear complete. Measurements of Higgs boson properties have thus far yielded good agreement with predicted values, but many questions remain. The mass of the Higgs boson itself is an excellent indicator of new physics, as it is too heavy to properly explain electroweak precision measurements and too light to maintain a stable vacuum. This presentation will discuss MSU's role in the path to Higgs discovery, the most recent Higgs boson property measurements, and the role MSU will play in the future of Higgs physics.