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Caterina Vernieri (Stanford) "Higgs to Beauty Quarks: First Observation of the Big Missing Piece"
October 30, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
The Higgs boson discovery at the LHC marked a historic milestone in the study of fundamental particles and their interactions. Over the last six years, we have begun measuring its properties, which are essential to build a deep understanding of the Higgs sector of the Standard Model and to potentially uncover new phenomena. The Higgs’ favored decay mode to beauty (b) quarks (~60%) had so far remained elusive because of the overwhelming background of b-quark production due to strong interactions. Observing the Higgs decay to b-quarks was one of the critical missing pieces of our knowledge of the Higgs sector. Measuring this decay is a fundamental step to confirm the mass generation for fermions and may also provide hints of physics beyond the Standard Model. The CMS observation of the decay of the SM Higgs boson into a pair of b-quarks exploiting an exclusive production mode (VH) is yet another major milestone. This experimental achievement at the LHC, considered nearly impossible in the past, makes use of several advanced machine learning techniques to identify the b-quark distinctive signature, improve the Higgs boson mass resolution, and discriminate the Higgs boson signal from background processes.