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 problem is that despite searching very hard for the Higgs boson, it remains undiscovered. The theory does not predict the mass of the Higgs boson itself, so finding it amounts to a massive hunt for a very elusive particle.

My research focus is on searches for the Higgs boson, searches for related particles and precision measurements needed to help find the Higgs boson or rule out its existence. I began this work at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider at the CERN particle physics facility outside Geneva, Switzerland and I continue 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 recent 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 allow the search for the Higgs to continue into previously unexplored territory.

I currently spend much of my time working at the D&empty experiment, which is a hadron collider detector at the Fermilab Tevatron. I am currently co-convener of the D&empty Higgs physics group, which is the group that performs the data analysis designed to detect the presence of Higgs bosons should they exist. 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). Outside my convener duties, I am heavily involved in searches designed to find Higgs bosons and in measurements of properties of electroweak vector bosons (W± and Z0). 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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  • "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].
    Physics Viewpoint Article subject, Physics 5, 91 (2012)

  • "Combined search for the standard model Higgs boson decaying to bb using the D∅ Run II data set,"
    The D∅ Collaboration, Accepted for publication by Phys. Rev. Lett., [arXiv.org:1207.6631].

  • "Measurements of WW and WZ Production in W+jets Final States in pp-bar Collisions",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 181803 (2012), [arXiv.org:1112.0536]

  • "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].

  • "A combined search for the standard model Higgs boson at √s = 1.96 TeV",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Lett. B 663 26 (2008); [arXiv.org:0712.0598].

  • "A search for anomalous heavy-flavor quark production in association with W bosons",
    The D∅ Collaboration, Phys. Rev. Lett. 94 152002 (2005); [arXiv.org:hep-ex/0411084];
    W. Fisher, FERMILAB-THESIS-2005-06(2005).

  • "Results of the Tevatron Higgs sensitivity study",
    CDF and D∅ Higgs Working Group [CDF and D∅ Collaborations], FERMILAB-PUB-03-320-E(2003).

  • "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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  • Colloquium at NYU on the Tevatron Higgs Search

  • Rencontres de Moriond 2010, "The Tevatron's Low Mass Higgs Search"

  • Fermilab 'Wine and Cheese' Seminar, "The Higgs Search at the Tevatron"

  • Colloquium at the College of William and Mary on the Tevatron Higgs Search

  • Rencontres de Blois 2009, "Higgs Searches at the Tevatron and the LHC"

  • Fermilab 'Wine and Cheese' Seminar, "First Evidence for Semi-leptonic diboson decays at the Tevatron"




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