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Fermilab experiments discover constraints on Higgs mass

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Friday, March 13, 2009

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - The territory where the Higgs boson may be found continues to shrink. The latest analysis of data from collider experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab near Chicago now excludes a significant portion of the allowed Higgs mass range established by earlier measurements.

The University of Texas at Arlington's High Energy Physics Group has worked in collaboration at Fermilab for 18 years. Participants are physics professors Kaushik De, Andrew White, Andrew Brandt and Jaehoon Yu.

The Higgs particle is a keystone in the theoretical framework known as the Standard Model of particles and their interactions. According to the Standard Model, the Higgs boson explains why some elementary particles have mass and others do not.

So far, the Higgs particle has eluded direct detection. Searches at the Large Electron Positron collider at the European laboratory CERN established that the Higgs boson must weigh more than 114 GeV/c2 (atomic mass units). Calculations of quantum effects involving the Higgs boson require the mass to be less than 185 GeV/c2. The new Fermilab results carve out a section in the middle of this range and establish that it cannot have a mass in between 160 and 170 GeV/c2.

"A cornerstone of NSF's support of particle physics is the search for the origin of mass, and this result takes us one step closer," said Physics Division Director Joe Dehmer, of the National Science Foundation.

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