Measure the Higgs decays also gives more data that can be used to confirm or refine the Standard Model too.
For example , the primary channel that the search uses is Higgs --> two photons (Because we're good at detecting photons; and most of the other ways it decays are too hard to pick out amongst the other collisions or too hard to detect the resulting particles)
What actually happens in this decay is the Higgs splits into a top quark pair, which then quickly annihilate into two photons [Not exactly, but that's the gist]. We can calculate the exact probability of this from the equations of the Standard Model.
Except that it's not necessarily a top quark pair, it could be a bottom quark pair. Or a tau pair, there are many possibilities. We add up all the probabilities for these to find out how many Higgs -> photon-photon events we expect to see .
The interesting thing is that the data presented in the conference the other day shows about twice as many
Higgs -> photon-photon events as the theory expects. There are two possible explanations:
- It's just variance and it will fall back to expectation with more data
- There are new types of particles we don't know about that are contributing to the sum of probabilities
The second of these options is of course much more exciting; I for one am hoping that the excess does persist with more data