On 9 July, at the 2018 International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP) in Seoul (South Korea), the ATLAS experiment reported a preliminary result establishing the observation of the Higgs boson decaying into pairs of b quarks, furthermore at a rate consistent with the Standard Model prediction.
The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism solves the apparent theoretical impossibility of weak vector bosons (W and Z) to have mass. The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 was a triumph of the Standard Model. The Higgs field can also be used in an elegant way to provide mass to charged fermions (quarks and leptons) through interactions involving Yukawa couplings with strength proportional to the particle mass. The observation of the Higgs boson decaying into pairs of τ leptons provided the first direct evidence of this type of interaction.
Six years after its discovery, the ATLAS experiment at CERN observed about 30 percent of the Higgs boson decays predicted in the Standard Model. However, the favoured decay of the Higgs boson into a pair of b quarks (H→bb), which is expected to account for almost 60 percent of all possible decays, has remained elusive up to now. Observing this decay mode and measuring its rate is a mandatory step to confirm or disconfirm the mass generation for fermions via Yukawa interactions, as predicted in the Standard Model.
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