In a breakthrough development, SMU’s Stephen Sekula and his group of researchers in the SMU Department of Physics were part of the ATLAS Experiment team to first observe the direct interaction between the Higgs boson and the bottom quark. This major milestone is an important step toward understanding the origins of mass.
The discovery of the latest piece of the cosmic puzzle was helped along by Sekula’s recent work involving an abundance of data from the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.
“At this point, taking more data wasn’t the primary issue,” explains Sekula. “This is a measurement that’s challenged by the fact that you can’t see clearly what is in the data. For the past year, we have been focused on improving the lens for this process so we really know where to look for the Higgs boson-bottom quark interaction.”
This is where SMU’s supercomputer, ManeFrame II, came into play. “In the last year, Maneframe II has been immensely helpful,” says Sekula. “It made it possible to enhance our simulation in ways that were more targeted.”