ATLAS smashes records: Higgs boson's mass measured precisely

This latest breakthrough in measuring the Higgs boson's mass revolutionizes our understanding of particle interactions.
Abdul-Rahman Oladimeji Bello
Higgs boson
Higgs boson


The Higgs boson sets a new record for precision, and ATLAS is at the forefront of the discovery. In an announcement at the Lepton Photon Conference, the ATLAS collaboration revealed how they had accomplished a remarkable feat in particle physics.

For over a decade, the enigmatic Higgs boson has captured the imagination of scientists worldwide. Since its discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) 11 years ago, this elusive particle has held the key to unlocking the secrets of the Universe's fundamental structure.

It's like a puzzle piece that, when properly understood, completes our understanding of the Standard Model—a theory that explains the interactions between particles in our universe.

But here's the catch: the mass of the Higgs boson isn't something that can be predicted. Instead, physicists rely on experimental measurements to determine this crucial value. Why is it so important? The mass of the Higgs boson plays a critical role in determining how it interacts with other particles and with itself.

By accurately measuring its mass, scientists can fine-tune theoretical calculations and compare them with the predictions from the Standard Model. Any deviations from these predictions could hint at entirely new and unexplored phenomena, shaking the foundations of our understanding of the Universe.

Beyond theoretical calculations, the Higgs boson's mass also profoundly impacts the evolution and stability of the Universe's vacuum. It's no exaggeration to say that precise knowledge of this fundamental parameter is a game-changer in particle physics.

Enter ATLAS—the collaborative effort between physicists and researchers worldwide. They've been on a mission to push the boundaries of precision in Higgs boson measurements since the particle's discovery. And they delivered.

ATLAS' latest achievement

ATLAS' latest achievement involves combining two crucial results to produce the most precise measurement of the Higgs boson's mass ever recorded. The first measurement focused on the Higgs boson's decay into two high-energy photons, affectionately known as the "diphoton channel." The result? A staggering mass of 125.22 billion electronvolts (GeV) with an uncertainty of a mere 0.14 GeV. That's a precision of 0.11%—a mind-blowing level of accuracy for a single decay channel.

This breakthrough wouldn't have been possible without the full ATLAS data sets from Runs 1 and 2 of the LHC. With the Run 2 data, the statistical uncertainty was slashed in half, paving the way for unprecedented accuracy. But that's not all! The calibration of photon energy measurements underwent dramatic improvements, cutting the systematic uncertainty by nearly a factor of four, down to a mere 0.09 GeV.

The researchers then combined this result with an earlier mass measurement obtained from the "four-lepton channel." The result? A Higgs boson mass of 125.11 GeV with an uncertainty of only 0.11 GeV—making it the most precise measurement yet!

ATLAS spokesperson, Andreas Hoecker, couldn't be prouder of their team's relentless dedication to understanding the data. He emphasized that their powerful reconstruction algorithms and precise calibrations were the secret ingredients to achieving this milestone.

But this discovery is more than just a feather in ATLAS' cap. It represents another crucial step in the increasingly detailed mapping of particle physics' critical new sector. As Stefano Manzoni, the convener of the ATLAS electron-photon calibration subgroup, puts it, "The advanced and rigorous calibration techniques used in this analysis were critical for pushing the precision to such an unprecedented level... They will also greatly benefit future analyses."

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board