The Interplay Between the Top Quark and the Higgs Boson
How a discovery from a generation ago can help us understand the latest breakthrough in particle physics.
The recent discovery at the LHC of a new fundamental particle has generated a significant amount of excitement around the globe - an excitement unmatched in particle physics since the discovery of the top quark in 1995. Given its observed decay channels, its mass and a handful of its properties, indications are that this new particle could be the long-sought Higgs boson, purported to be the linchpin in understanding the imposition of mass to the fundamental particles.
But much remains to be known about this new particle - it could be the Higgs boson predicted by the standard model or it could be something more exotic. Characterization of this new particle must be done in many different channels; it's interactions with the top quark will play a vital role in this endeavor. Herein I describe the importance the top quark will play in studies of this new particle, and describe in detail one particularly important channel in the characterization effort: the search for production of the Higgs in association with top-quark pairs at CMS.