Today until the end of the week we're hosting the KUTS 8 workshop here in Paris. It's a small workshop gathering about 20 people to discuss Higgs mass calculations. It's supposed to be entirely focussed on the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM) and the Next-to-Minimal variant (NMSSM) but in recent times my collaborators and I have been trying to stretch the scope to talk about calculations in general models.

This work is rather technical, involving two- and three-loop calculations, effective field theory techniques, etc, but is important for bridging the gap between top-down theories and the extremely precisely measured value of the Higgs mass, which is known experimentally to within 0.2%. This is much better than the theoretical uncertainty in the above theories! I.e. if I define a theory such as the MSSM and give the masses of the new particles then the state of the art is that we can only calculate the mass of the Higgs to within maybe 1-2%, although that number depends on the parameter choice and is also something that will be (hotly) debated at the meeting ...

I really like small workshops like this one because it's all relevant and no extraneous or less interesting stuff. I get to meet friends and collaborators and discuss the very latest results -- and find out what is about to appear, what they're working on next, and what is important to think about. This is quite an unusual event, since most workshops are a little bigger with more like 30-50 people, and conferences would be upwards of 100; those can be very interesting too but take more time and are more diverse, so generally better for getting the big picture on a whole discipline rather than making progress in one area.

Fortunately, my lab is located in the centre of Paris, so it hasn't been too hard to persuade people to make the trip here. It's only a shame that today is the day that the Seine has risen high enough to disrupt some of the transport ...

Some time I will hopefully write more about the physics behind Higgs mass calculations, but for now here's a link to the webpage where it's also possible to listen in to our videoconference broadcast ...

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