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The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Dr Konstantinos Nikolopoulos from the School of Physics and Astronomy a grant of €1.5M to support further research into the Higgs boson.

With the observation of a Higgs boson in July 2012 at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, the Standard Model is now complete. However, the mechanism of mass generation for matter particles is still unclear. Dr Nikolopoulos, a member of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), led the analysis on one of the two Higgs boson decay channels that were first observed.

The ExclusiveHiggs project will aim to explore a recently proposed idea, looking for decays of the Higgs boson to a meson, a quark, anti-quark bound state, and a photon or a Z boson. The team has pioneered the experimental study of this idea in two recent publications.

The ERC Starting Grant will support Dr Nikolopoulos to establish his research team and develop the new techniques required to improve our understanding of mass generation. This is among the central open questions that the Large Hadron Collider and potential future facilities, currently under discussion, will aim to answer.

Set up in 2007 by the EU, the European Research Council (ERC) is the first pan-European funding organisation for frontier research. It aims to stimulate scientific excellence in Europe by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age.