African Physics Newsletter

First Mediterranean Conference on Higgs Physics in Tangier, Morocco

 More than 100 physicists, among which many young Moroccan scientists, gathered to discuss the Higgs physics developments after its discovery.

The discovery of the Higgs boson completes the Standard Model (SM), a very successful theory describing particles of visible matter and their interactions. Experimental observations and open theoretical questions compel us to seek out physics “Beyond the Standard Model” (BSM) at the TeV scale, and the Higgs boson provides us with a potential portal to new physics. A few BSM models have been proposed such as new massive particles which may couple to the SM Higgs boson, producing exotic decays of the SM Higgs boson or enhancements to the production of the SM Higgs boson.

The First Mediterranean Conference on Higgs Physics (MCHP) was held in Tangier (Morocco) from 23 - 26 September 2019. MHCP offered the opportunity to about 123 participants developing theory and experiment from all over the world to meet, discuss and review the landscape of Higgs Physics for exploring the ongoing efforts and to set future roadmaps for collaboration.

Discussion about all the Higgs physics

MCHP intends to foster discussion across all fields relevant to Higgs phenomenology, such as various extended Higgs sectors, super-symmetric models, exotic particles, dark matter, model building, flavour physics and neutrino masses, Large Hadron Collider (LHC) results and High Energy physics tools. Thus, MCHP brings together experts from the theoretical and experimental communities for a joint brainstorming on the status of this phenomenology, to identify areas for improvements, as well as to address a variety of open fundamental questions in particle physics,astrophysics and cosmology.

Throughout the conference, ATLAS and CMS experiments presented impressive results of searches for new phenomena, setting boundaries to where the new physics might still exist. These limits severely constrain models for physics beyond the SM including possible candidates for dark matter and searches for supersymmetric particles. The mass of the Higgs boson was not predicted by the SM, but it has been measured by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations to be 125 ± 0.21(stat) ± 0.11(syst) GeV.

Predictable physics, and unknown particles

Given this mass, all production cross sections, couplings to other SM particles, and decay rates of the Higgs boson are predicted by the SM. All the measurements so far have confirmed that the particle is indeed the Higgs boson predicted by the SM.

Moreover, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations examined the possibility that the SM Higgs boson may be undergoing “invisible” decays to new particles, such as dark matter candidate particles, which escape detection in the ATLAS and CMS detectors.

Interaction between Moroccan young physicists and experts

The Higgs self-interactions play a crucial role in exploring the underlying mechanisms of electroweak symmetry breaking (EWSB), so that it is one of the most important targets for experimentalists to measure at colliders. Results for the measurements of the strengths of the Higgs boson self-interactions and their comparison to SM predictions are also addressed to verify the EWSB of the SM. One of the greatest challenges for the future of LHC experiments is the measurement of the Higgs self-coupling.

The MCHP poster session provides the Moroccan young researchers with a unique opportunity to present and discuss their work with the experts on the field. Moreover, the social dinner is an opportunity for the MCHP participate to spend an exciting time enjoying the Moroccan culture.

A stressful but rewarfing organization

The organization of a conference is always a stressful adventure because of all the very small things and all the very important issues that have to be planned and managed. The sponsors and the participants all contributed to the success of the conference.

The organisers thanked the International Advisory Committee, in particular K.A. Assamagan, S. Heinemeyer, G. Moultaka and many others and sent very warm greetings A. Arhrib (Chair), F. Fassi (Co-chair), M. Chabab, L. Rahili, R. Benbrik , M. Gouighri and the rest of the national committee who worked intensively for months to manage the conference.

Farida Fassi (Mohammed V University in Rabat)

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This article has first been published in the African Physics Newsletter.


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