Colloquium: March 11, 2014

The Higgs Boson and Why It Matters

Josh Erlich

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 2:00 P.M. in the HJE Reid Auditorium
(The date was changed from March 4 because of the NASA budget rollout briefings.)
(Video of the lecture) within the Langley firewall only


On July 4, 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of a new particle that resembled the long-sought Higgs boson. This particle is a necessary ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics, and the related Higgs field is responsible for the masses of all elementary particles. I will introduce the Standard Model, describe the Higgs boson and explain how it was discovered, what has been learned about it since its announcement, and the implications for the future. I will also explain why the discovery is both a triumph and a concern for elementary particle physics.


Josh PhotoJosh Erlich is an Associate Professor of Physics at the College of William and Mary. He received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and did postdoctoral research at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Washington, Seattle, before arriving at William and Mary in December 2004. Erlich studies elementary particle physics beyond the Standard Model, and is interested in the relationship between particle physics and other fields such as superconductivity and cosmology.

This talk was originally scheduled for October 1, 2013, but the government shutdown required that it be rescheduled.

Sheila Thibeault is hosting our speaker this month.