Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

High-energy colliders and the rise of the standard model


Over the past quarter of a century, experiments at high-energy particle colliders have established the standard model as the precise theory of particle interactions up to the 100 GeV scale. A series of important experimental discoveries and measurements have filled in most of the missing pieces and tested the predictions of the standard model with great precision.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Particle interactions.
Figure 2: The OPAL experiment at LEP.
Figure 3: The cross-section for e+e annihilation to hadrons as a function of Ecm.
Figure 4: Comparison of the effective electroweak mixing angle, sin2θWeff, derived from six classes of asymmetry measurements.
Figure 5: Leptonic branching ratios.
Figure 6: Top-quark production, and virtual loops.
Figure 7: Contours at 68% confidence level showing the direct (LEP2 and the Tevatron) and indirect (LEP1 and SLC) measurements of mW and mt.
Figure 8: A test of the consistency of the standard-model fit to all available high-energy electroweak precise data.


  1. Arnison, G. et al. (UA1 Collaboration). Experimental observation of isolated large transverse energy electrons with associated missing energy at √s = 540 GeV. Phys. Lett. B 122, 103–116 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  2. Banner, M. et al. (UA2 Collaboration). Observation of single isolated electrons of high transverse momentum in events with missing transverse energy at the CERN p̄p collider. Phys. Lett. B 122, 476–485 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. Arnison, G. et al. (UA1 Collaboration). Experimental observation of lepton pairs of invariant mass around 95 GeV/c2 at the CERN SPS collider. Phys. Lett. B 126, 398–410 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Bagnaia, P. et al. (UA2 Collaboration). Evidence for Z0e+e at the CERN p collider. Phys. Lett. B 129, 130–140 (1983).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Kodama, K. et al. (DONUT Collaboration). Observation of tau neutrino interactions. Phys. Lett. B 504, 218–224 (2001).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Abachi, S. et al. (DØ Collaboration). Top quark search with the DØ 1992–1993 data sample. Phys. Rev. D 52, 4877–4919 (1995).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Abachi, S. et al. (DØ Collaboration). Search for the top quark in pp̄ collisions at √s = 1.8 TeV Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 2138–2142 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Abe, F. et al. (CDF Collaboration). Observation of top quark production in pp̄ collisions with the collider detector at Fermilab. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 2626–2631 (1995).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Abachi, S. et al. (DØ Collaboration). Observation of the top quark. Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 2632–2637 (1995).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. LEP Electroweak Working Group. LEP Electroweak Working Group. <> (2007).

  11. ALEPH Collaboration, DELPHI Collaborations, L3 Collaboration, OPAL Collaboration and The LEP Working Group for Higgs Boson Searches. Search for the standard model Higgs boson at LEP. Phys. Lett. B 565, 61–75 (2003).

  12. ALEPH, DELPHI, L3, OPAL, SLD collaborations, LEP Electroweak Working Group, the SLD Electroweak and Heavy Flavour Groups. Precision electroweak measurements on the Z resonance. Phys. Rep. 427, 257–454 (2006).

  13. Jones, R. W. L. Final αs combinations from the LEP QCD working group. Nucl. Phys. B Proc. (suppl.) 152, 15–22 (2006).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. The LEP Collaborations: ALEPH Collaboration, DELPHI Collaboration, L3 Collaboration, OPAL Collaboration, the LEP Electroweak Working Group. A combination of preliminary electroweak measurements and constraints on the standard model. Preprint at <> (2006).

  15. Tevatron Electroweak Working Group (for the CDF and DØ Collaborations). A combination of CDF and DØ results on the mass of the top quark. Preprint at <> (2007).

  16. Quadt, A. Top quark physics at hadron colliders. Eur. Phys. J. C 48, 835–1000 (2006)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Abulencia, A. et al. (CDF Collaboration). Observation of WZ production. Preprint at <>.

  18. CDF Collaboration. Evidence for ZZ production in p̄p at √s = 1.96 TeV. CDF Note 8775 (preliminary). <>.

  19. Abazov, V. M. et al. (DØ Collaboration). Evidence for production of single top quarks and first direct measurement of |Vtb|. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 181802 (2007).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Additional information

Reprints and permissions information is available at

Correspondence should be addressed to T.W. (;

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wyatt, T. High-energy colliders and the rise of the standard model. Nature 448, 274–280 (2007).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing