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If evidence of the Higgs boson revealed two years ago was the smoking gun, particle physicists have now found a few of the bullets.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) published research in Nature Physics this week that details evidence of the direct decay of the Higgs boson to fermions, among the particles anticipated by the Standard Model of physics.
The finding fits what researchers expected to see amid the massive amount of data provided by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The world's largest collider smashed protons together in hope that the encounter would produce the short-lived Higgs boson, leaving signs of its decay in the traces recorded by experiments designed and built at Rice and elsewhere.
Authors of the paper by the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration include Rice researchers Paul Padley, a professor of physics and astronomy, and Karl Ecklund, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy

"In July 2012, we knew we had discovered some sort of boson, and it looked a lot like it was a Higgs boson," Padley said. "To firmly establish it's the Standard Model Higgs boson, there are a number of checks we have to do. This paper represents one of these fundamental checks."

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