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14 december 2018

Approved FOM programme

Number 156.
Title Higgs as probe and portal (HPP)
Executive organisational unit Nikhef & BUW
Programme management Prof.dr. E.L.M.P. Laenen
Duration 2015-2020
Cost estimate M€ 2.1

The objectives
We study the Higgs boson from a theoretical perspective from three directions: precision predictions for Higgs boson production at the LHC, its role as a probe in flavour physics, and as a portal to new physics at high scales. In this way we may find out about physics beyond the Standard Model, about the matter-dominance of the universe, and its stability.

Background, relevance and implementation
The Higgs boson discovered by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in July 2012 is a historical discovery in science, and a fortiori in particle physics. Rather than a particle that merely completes a list of similar particles, it is genuinely one of its kind and its existence has wide ramifications in and beyond particle physics. Two urgent questions for the coming years have come to the fore: (1) To what extent can the Higgs boson probe the Standard Model, and (2) Is the Higgs boson a portal to new physics? We will conduct a research programme on these two questions from a theoretical physics perspective, using our consortium expertise. We shall approach the problem from three directions:
I)    Precision calculations: we stress-test the Standard Model in processes with a Higgs boson by making state-of-the-art predictions for LHC and low-energy observables, such as calculations for the Higgs-top quark coupling and the Higgs production cross section.
II)   Flavour physics: through virtual effects in B -meson and Kaon decays we construct and compute, through effective field theory, values of observables that are highly sensitive to physics at scales far beyond the LHC energies.
III)  High scales: we will use the near-criticality of the Standard Model phase diagram as a starting point for formulating new physics ideas and subsequently we will investigate how these ideas may be tested, using the methods outlined under directions I and II.

Implementation of this programme will occur through a coherent and collaborative effort by the junior scientists to be hired and the consortium members, and in close interaction with experimental colleagues. The coherence is enabled through monthly and other meetings, and cross collaborations between the institutes involved.

The final evaluation will be based on the self-evaluation report initiated by the programme leader and is foreseen for 2020.