What’s a Higgs Boson, Anyway?

Article Updated: 6 Jan , 2016

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Video

With the science world all abuzz in anticipation of tomorrow’s official announcement from CERN in regards to its hunt for the Higgs, some of you may be wondering, “what’s a Higgs?” And for that matter, what’s a boson?

The video above, released a couple of months ago by the talented Jorge Cham at PHDcomics, gives a entertaining run-down of subatomic particles, how they interact and how, if it exists — which, by now, many are sure it does — the Higgs relates to them.

It’s the 7-minutes course in particle physics you’ll wish you had taken in college (unless you’re a particle physicist in which case… well, you’d still probably have enjoyed it.)

Credit: PHDcomics.com

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kurt_eh
Guest
kurt_eh
July 4, 2012 5:19 AM

Is it wrong that my brain instantly went to this place?

bugzzz
Member
bugzzz
July 5, 2012 3:44 AM

No way! That’s a classic. Couldn’t be more right.

fleinkantarell
Guest
fleinkantarell
July 4, 2012 11:40 AM

Gratulations smile Time to find and tame the Graviton.

SteveZodiac
Member
SteveZodiac
July 4, 2012 12:24 PM

What baffles me is not what the Higgs is but where is it? Is it in inside protons? Is it in the fabric of space, the multiverse next door or did it only exist 1 zillionth of a second after the big bang?. If it decays so instanantly then what role does it play in “stuff”?

Olaf
Member
Olaf
July 4, 2012 4:47 PM

Maybe you should watch the video clip. It is explained.

Martin Waddington
Guest
July 4, 2012 3:47 PM

I want to thank Jason profusely, on behalf of the community of completely-scientifically-illiterates, of which I am a card-carrying member. This delightful animation has dispelled a tiny bit of the general fog that obscures this subject for me – hell, I might even read up more about it now!

bugzzz
Member
bugzzz
July 5, 2012 3:41 AM

Great animation. Very helpful for us novices. How much more powerful will particle acceleraters become in near future? In other words, how much more powerful will the collisions be, and could that possibly lead to the discovery of even heavier, more exotic particles “beyond” Higgs?

Torbjorn Larsson OM
Member
Torbjorn Larsson OM
July 5, 2012 3:40 PM
On the general, open question that is hard to say. The specific question, what happens next or at least what is planned to happen next is easier to answer. The science community has settled a few generations back (time flies) on an overall research strategy of accelerator generations. This is because of how the physics works. The LHC is an example of the 1st generation into new territory – a space-saving syncrotron that goes to high energies by colliding large particles. Protons (and/or anti-protons) are suitable. So you get a rapid, cheap look into a new energy range. But your interactions, so your jets that you look into, are messy because of the complex target, the large composite… Read more »
bugzzz
Member
bugzzz
July 5, 2012 4:34 PM

Thanks for your reply. I would infer that the huge news of the higgs discovery will bode well for the more timely construction of future colliders.

Mickey Schmidt
Guest
Mickey Schmidt
July 5, 2012 7:14 PM
Great graphics. All the discussions I have seen has brought several questions to mind. As I understand it the Higgs Boson (particle) is very heavy or massive. It must have a field surrounding it for ordinary matter to interact with to gain the property of mass. This field must pervade the universe as all detectable matter in it has mass (other than photons). Since the universe is expanding one would think that the Higgs field must also be expanding and thus becoming less concentrated per unit of volume. Wouldn’t this result in decreasing mass of all particles interacting with the Higgs field? What might the nature of this field be? Electro-magnetic or something altogether different? Just suppose a… Read more »
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