Michigan State University High Energy Physics


Wade Fisher

Assistant Professor

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan 48824

  • Office: 3234 Biomedical & Physical Sciences Building
  • Phone: 517-884-5556
  • Fax: 517-353-4500
  • E-mail: fisherw AT pa.msu.edu


My research is in the field of high energy physics, which is the study of the most basic building blocks of the universe and the fundamental forces through which they interact. This field is also commonly known as elementary particle physics. Scientists working in this field explore the most fundamental questions about the nature of our universe. I perform my research at the highest energy particle accelerators in the world along with colleagues from both MSU and around the world. In particular, my work focuses on understanding the physical mechanisms that explain why matter has mass. While mass and its interaction with gravity is the most clear indication that forces exist, the mystery of why particles have mass at all and why observed particle masses span such a great range remains a major focus in high energy physics.


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My Research

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The quantum field theory framework used to describe the interactions amongst the known elementary particles and fundamental forces (the Standard Model of particle physics) most naturally describes a world full of particles with zero mass. However physicists have observed that particles not only have mass, but their masses differ over many orders of magnitude. The simplest mechanism to explain particle mass (called the Higgs mechanism) requires that there be a new particle, the Higgs boson. Via interactions with the field associated with the Higgs boson, particles could acquire mass in a self-consistent manner. The experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located just outside Switzerland, Geneva have actually discovered a particle that just may be the Higgs boson. However, because there could be other "counterfeit" Higgs bosons hiding out there or because we may have found something entirely unexpected, we're still studying this new particle with an open mind.

My research focus is on studies of the Higgs boson, searches for related particles and precision measurements needed to help understand the boson discovered at the LHC. I began this work at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider at the CERN particle physics facility outside Geneva, Switzerland and I continued at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider at Fermilab, located near Chicago. These facilities have led the way as the highest energy particle accelerators in the world until the commissioning of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which now occupies the circular tunnel that once held the LEP collider. By increasing the energy available in the particle collisions created in these accelerators, it becomes easier to create particles with large masses. This allows studies of the Higgs boson to continue into previously unexplored territory.

I currently spend much of my time working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN and the D∅ experiment at Fermilab. I spend my time on ATLAS working on studies of Higgs boson production with H→bb decays and working to upgrade the ATLAS trigger as we continue to take data. In my spare time on ATLAS, my research group is also searching for heavy bosons which could be related to the well-known W and Z bosons. At the Tevatron, I am also co-convener of the Tevatron New Phenomena/Higgs Working Group. This is the team of Tevatron researchers who together coordinate the statistical combination of results from the CDF and D&empty Higgs searches (amongst other things). I am also interested in the use of statistical methods in high energy physics and am active in the HEP statistics community.

Selected Publications

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  • "Higgs Boson Studies at the Tevatron,"
    V. M. Abazov et al. [D0 Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D 88, 052014 (2013), [arXiv:1303.6346]

  • "Combined search for the standard model Higgs boson decaying to bb using the D0 Run II data,"
    V. M. Abazov et al. [D0 Collaboration], Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 121802 (2012), [arXiv:1207.6631]
    PRL Editor's Suggestion, prl.aps.org

  • "Evidence for a particle produced in association with weak bosons and decaying to a bottom-antibottom quark pair in Higgs boson searches at the Tevatron,"
    The CDF and D∅ Collaborations, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 071804 (2012), [arXiv.org:1207.6436].
    APS Physics Viewpoint Article subject Physics 5, 91 (2012)
    PRL Editor's Suggestion, prl.aps.org

  • "Bounds on an Anomalous Dijet Resonance in W+Jets Production in pp-bar Collisions at √s = 1.96 TeV",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 011804 (2011), [arXiv.org:1106.1921].
    Physics Synopsis Article subject, http://physics.aps.org/

  • "Combination of Tevatron searches for the standard model Higgs boson in the W+W- decay mode",
    The CDF and D∅ Collaborations, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 061802 (2010); [arXiv.org:1001.4162]
    PRL Cover Article and PRL Editor's Suggestion, http://prl.aps.org
    Physics Viewpoint Article subject, Physics 3, 14 (2010)

  • "Search for Higgs boson production in dilepton plus missing energy final states with 5.4 fb-1 of pp collisions at √s = 1.96 TeV",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 061804 (2010); [arXiv.org:1001.4481]
    PRL Editor's Suggestion, http://prl.aps.org
    Physics Viewpoint Article subject, Physics 3, 14 (2010)

  • "Measurement of trilinear gauge boson couplings from WW+WZ→lνjj events in pp collisions at √s = 1.96 TeV",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. D 80, 053012 (2009); [arXiv.org:0907.4398].

  • "Evidence of WW+WZ production with lepton + jets final states in ppcollisions at √s = 1.96 TeV",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 161801 (2009); [arXiv.org:0810.3873].

  • "Search for a Higgs boson decaying to weak boson pairs at LEP",
    The L3 Collaboration, Phys. Lett. B 568 191 (2003); [arXiv.org:hep-ex/0307010].
Recent Talks & Presentations

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  • Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP) 2014: "Higgs Boson Studies at the Tevatron"

  • Colloquia at CMU, MSU and SFM, 2013/4: "Horror Vacui: The Higgs boson and the fate of our Vacuum"

  • Lepton-Photon 2013: "The Tevatron's Higgs Legacy"

  • Higgs Quo Vadis, Aspen 2013: "The Tevatron Higgs Search: Studies of the new Boson"





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