New data on the Higgs has just been released, and so I thought I would take a moment on this snowy Monday morning to give a few updates. (I realize by now some of you are growing tired of hearing about the Higgs boson, so I will try to make this update brief.) The original announcements by CMS and ATLAS can be found here and here.

The latest results from the LHC indicate that the Higgs boson they have been observing can decay into tau leptons. Tau leptons are identical to electrons, but have masses over 3000 times greater. Until now, the particle produced at the LHC has only been observed to decay into combinations of electroweak bosons, while the standard model of the Higgs particle requires it to delay into many other types of particle as well.

This result is important, because there are other theoretical particles which mimic the Higgs, but do not decay into leptons at all. In some theories, such as the well studied supersymmetric standard model, there are actually five or more Higgs bosons. This is further proof that the minimal Higgs model is indeed the right one, although it does not definitively exclude the possibility that what the LHC is observing is just the lightest of several Higgs bosons.

In either case, it is interesting (at least to particle physicists) to see the data coming in, and increase our understanding of the Higgs mechanism, and of the Standard Model of particle physics.