Ping-Pong Particles: What the Higgs Does

Unless you’ve been hiding under a chondrite for the past week you’ve heard the news from CERN regarding the discovery of a new particle that exhibits “Higgs-like” qualities. Particle physics isn’t the easiest discipline to wrap one’s head around, and while we’ve recently shared some simplified explanations of what exactly a Higgs boson is, well…here’s another.

Here, BBC’s Jonathan Amos attempts to demonstrate what the Higgs field does, and what part the boson plays. Some Ping-Pong balls, a little sugar, and a cafeteria tray is all it takes to give an idea of how essential this long-sought after subatomic particle is to the Universe. (If only finding it had been that easy!)

Video: BBC News

8 Replies to “Ping-Pong Particles: What the Higgs Does”

  1. To be more precise, the Higgs mechanism works just like what’s shown in the video, but without the sugar.

    1. Yeah, that’s right, Higgs is salty. :d

      But, seriously, why? If it’s without sugar then explain it, otherwise you’re confusing. And don’t be ashamed to mention spontaneuosly broken symmetry. 😀

  2. That’s a good description. I described it to my wife by saying if you drop sand into a swimming pool, each grain sinks at a different rate. Light, however, passes straight through to the bottom unhindered.

  3. Nice, simple explanation, especially the photon, which I didn’t actually realize has no mass. Never thought about it before.

Comments are closed.