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Physicists take a bet on the Scottish weather (and the Higgs!) to attend ATLAS UK 2012

Posted on 17/01/2012

The event display of a 2e2mu candidate event with m_4l=124.3 GeV. The masses of the lepton pairs are 76.8 GeV and 45.7 GeV. Source: https://twiki.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/AtlasPublic/EventDisplaysFromHiggsSearches

The annual ATLAS UK Physics meeting took place at the University of Glasgow between the 5th and 7th January 2012. The meeting aims to bring together researchers from the 14 UK institutions who work within the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider to update everyone on the UK’s contribution to the plethora of analyses which are taking place with the data collected over the past year at the LHC.

Royal Holloway had a strong presence at the meeting, with Dr Veronique Boisvert convening the Top-Quark Physics session of talks, Dr Tracey Berry convening the Exotics session and Dr Neil Cooper-Smith giving a talk on the status of the UK involvement in the “Top-Quark Inclusive Cross-Section Measurements” which are currently ongoing.

As could be expected from media coverage over the past few months, there was a lot of interest around the status of the search for the Higgs particle, with Dr Bill Murray (one of the Higgs working group conveners) saying that with the 15-20 inverse femtobarns of data expected over the course of the next year, there should be enough data to know whether the Higgs has been found by the end of 2012. In addition, there is particular interest in the combination of ATLAS and CMS Higgs search results, which were presented in the public seminar on the 13th December 2011 (see here for more information), which should hopefully materialise in the coming weeks and offer a tantalising glimpse into what we might expect to hear by the end of this year. Indeed many at the meeting have already started to look towards the future with an invitation to place a bet on the month they think that a public announcement of the Higgs discovery will be made, with the majority of educated guesses plumping for around July 2012!

Ian Connelly
First year RHUL PhD student on the ATLAS experiment


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