MSU physicist says Higgs hunt may be over


Wade Fisher, MSU physics and astronomy researcher, has been actively involved in the search for the Higgs boson particle.

In an announcement today, scientists said they are now more confident that the particle discovered last year in experiments done at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is indeed the Higgs boson.

The subject of years of research, the Higgs boson is the elusive particle that is thought to explain what gives mass to matter and how the universe was formed.

Wade Fisher, a Michigan State University assistant professor of physics and astronomy, who has been actively involved in the Higgs boson research said that these are exciting times for particle physicists. He also warned that more work is needed before they can declare that the new particle is the Higgs boson.

“The discovery of this new particle was like receiving a wrapped gift,” he said. “It’s very exciting to know that you have something new, but you aren’t quite sure what it is. We are putting a lot of effort into the careful study of this new particle to figure out exactly what we’ve found.”

Fisher has coordinated research teams at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago and is now working with colleagues at the LHC at the CERN particle physics facility near Geneva, Switzerland.

Specifically, he has worked at the Fermilab’s Tevatron, the particle collider where much of the work had been done before it was shut down last year and the research transferred to the LHC.

Fisher has coordinated the research of the Fermilab Higgs searches through his role directing the DZero team and convening the Tevatron Higgs Working Group where the two Tevatron experiments – DZero and the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) – work to combine search results. Since the Tevatron shutdown, he has been working with MSU colleagues on the ATLAS particle detector experiment at the LHC.

DZero is an international experiment conducted by 446 physicists from 82 institutions in 18 countries. CDF is an international experiment of 430 physicists from 58 institutions in 15 countries. ATLAS is an international experiment of 3,000 physicists from 177 institutions in 38 countries.