Nick Van Remortel

“Exploration of the light Higgs Boson sector at the LHC”

Nick Van Remortel was born in Belgium in 1976. He studied Physics at the University of Antwerp, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2003. He was Research fellow from 1998 till 2002 and Post-doctoral researcher from 2003 till 2004 at the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). He was also Post-doctoral researcher EU Research Training Network at the University of Helsinki from 2004 till 2006 and Research assistant from 2006 till 2007 at the same university. He is currently professor at the University of Antwerp.

In 2009, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, will deliver the first data in an unexplored energy regime and an exciting era for particle physics will start. The proposed research investigates the experimental signatures of a light Higgs boson with a mass in the range between 114 – 135 GeV, by using data collected by the CMS experiment at the LHC collider. We focus on the distinct topology where the Higgs boson decays into a pair of b quarks and is accompanied by the production and decays of two top quarks: ttH->bbWWbb. Recent precision measurements of the top quark and W-boson masses at the Tevatron collider, Fermilab, USA, imply the existence of a relatively light Higgs boson with a mass less than 144 GeV at 95% C.L. inside the Standard Model (SM) of elementary particles. There is consensus in our field that a light Higgs will be the most challenging to observe, however it is vital to rule out or prove unambiguously its existence in order to establish the nature of the mechanism behind electroweak symmetry breaking and the origin of mass of elementary particles.