Hunting for Higgs

Over at the Higgs Hunters project, we search for hints of the Higgs boson – or other rare physics phenomena – by looking for particles that simply “appear out of thin air”.

We do this by searching for “off-center vertices” in the images that we classify. That is, we search for points where two or more lines converge, away from the center of the detector. The images that we are presented overlay a diagram of the ATLAS detector, and they represent the product of an awful lot of people whom work to keep the Large Hadron Collider and related experiments running.

This image represents a horizontal cross-section of the ATLAS detector, where the beam line is highlighted by multiple clusters of colorful lines – including the very long, multi-colored lines that we see here:
"Slice" view of the event AHH0001t1t, from the Higgs Hunters project

  • Those multi-colored lines represent charged particles – the most notable of which are the muons (the “cousin” of the electron, highlighted here in bright green).
  • Here we see two white lines which exit the detector toward the right, alongside the muon. Where these lines meet is likely the location of an off-center vertex!
  • Head over to the discussion page for this event, and you’ll notice that you can more clearly see where these lines meet, by selecting the “Normal” or “Zoom” views.
  • This event is part of a collection that I have started, in an effort to identify a specific subset of Higgs boson decays, the Higgs -> Zγ candidates.

As Dr. Andy Haas mentions in this blog post, “What you’re seeing on HiggsHunters“, each image on Higgs Hunters may take around 10 minutes to produce – so 50,000 of these events on Higgs Hunters could represent around a year of CPU time. Beyond the computational time, a significant amount of effort goes into presenting only the most promising Higgs boson candidate events.

Come join us today at www.higgshunters.org to be part of an impressive, concerted effort to learn more about our world!

 

 

Thanks to volunteer @Whoandwhatitis for submitting this article as a guest post on Zooniverse Talk. If you find something on one of our projects that you’d like to see posted on the Daily Zooniverse, let us know at www.zooniverse.org/talk/68

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