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The Higgs boson was discovered in 2012 at the world’s most powerful particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland. This particle plays a unique role in fundamental physics. It gives all of the known elementary particles, including itself, their masses. To do this, it must transmit a new force to other particles, and it must also interact with itself. This last aspect is particularly strange, and has not been explored in experiments yet. Higgs bosons are extremely rare even at the LHC – only one of them is produced per billion particle collisions – and their extremely short lifetime means they are not directly visible. They can only be studied indirectly by analyzing the particle collisions in which they participate. At SLAC we are constructing the core of the biggest and fastest camera ever built to capture the Higgs boson in action. With more than 100 times more pixels than a typical digital camera, each one of which is much faster and more sensitive than typical camera pixels, it will be 10 times more powerful than the current cameras used to capture the results of particle collisions at the LHC. In this lecture, I will explain how we will use this camera to probe the mysteries of the Higgs boson.
About the Speaker:
Caterina Vernieri received her PhD from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, in 2014 and then moved to Chicago for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She joined SLAC in 2018 as a Panofsky Fellow. Throughout this time, she has been devoted to studying the Higgs boson using data from the LHC. She co-led the group in the CMS experiment studying the Higgs decay to b quarks at the time that this important decay process was finally discovered in the data. Here at SLAC, Caterina is working with the rival ATLAS experiment at the LHC. She is responsible for the construction of the new ATLAS Pixel Inner Tracker detector, a giant camera that will snap pictures at the much higher data rates expected from the planned upgrade of the LHC. She is also co-convener of the group on Higgs boson properties in the current national study of the future of particle physics.