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In a paper published today in the European Physical Journal C, the ATLAS Collaboration reports the first high-precision measurement at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the mass of the W boson. This is one of two elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction – one of the forces that govern the behaviour of matter in our universe. The reported result gives a value of 80370±19 MeV for the W mass, which is consistent with the expectation from the Standard Model of Particle Physics, the theory that describes known particles and their interactions.
The measurement is based on around 14 million W bosons recorded in a single year (2011), when the LHC was running at the energy of 7 TeV. It matches previous measurements obtained at LEP, the ancestor of the LHC at CERN, and at the Tevatron, a former accelerator at Fermilab in the United States, whose data made it possible to continuously refine this measurement over the last 20 years.
W - Boson - Particles - Universe - Discovery
The W boson is one of the heaviest known particles in the universe. Its discovery in 1983 crowned the success of CERN's Super proton-antiproton Synchrotron, leading to the Nobel Prize in physics in 1984. Although the properties of the W boson have been studied for more than 30 years, measuring its mass to high precision remains a major challenge.
"Achieving such a precise measurement despite the demanding conditions present in a hadron collider such as the LHC is a great challenge," said the physics coordinator of the ATLAS Collaboration, Tancredi Carli. "Reaching similar precision, as previously obtained at other colliders, with only one year of Run 1...
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