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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, September 4, 2009
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Elizabeth Simmons
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Michigan State University

"Electroweak Symmetry Breaking Without a Higgs Boson''
This talk focuses on two key mysteries of particle physics that are both related to the origin of mass: Why are the W and Z particles responsible for transmitting the (radioactive) weak force extremely heavy while the photon that transmits the electromagnetic force is massless? What causes the matter particles (e.g., electrons, quarks, neutrinos) to have such a wide range of masses? We initially examine the Standard Model description of the origin of mass to establish its successes and deficiencies, and conclude that physics beyond the Standard Model's Higgs boson is required. The balance of the talk introduces two candidate theories of the origin of mass that do not require the existence of a Higgs boson (technicolor and higgsless models) and discusses how they might be explored at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM