Higgs Boson Looks Even Higgs-ier

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New data suggest that the particle discovered 2 years ago with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland is indeed the Higgs boson—the key to physicists’ explanation of how all fundamental particles get their mass.

Such particles come in two classes: bosons, which convey forces, and fermions, which make up matter. Previous measurements had shown that the new particle interacts with bosons: Physicists discovered it by spotting it decaying into two photons, the bosons that convey the electromagnetic force, or into two Z bosons, the massive particles that convey the weak nuclear force.

Now, researchers working with the mammoth CMS particle detector at the LHC have seen the Higgs decaying into fermions—either two tau leptons (above), heavier cousins of the electron, or two bottom quarks, beefy cousins of the up quarks and down quarks that make up protons and neutrons.

Reported online on June 22, 2014 in Nature Physics, the result strongly suggests that, as it lurks “virtually” in the vacuum, the new particle is the universal mass giver that the Higgs is supposed to be.

This story has been provided by AAAS, the non-profit science society, and its international journal, Science.

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