Explanation of the Higg's Boson

Protons are more massive than electrons, for example, and electrons are way more massive than neutrinos. Photons have no mass at all. For most us, that's no more than a fun fact (and not all that much fun, really). For physicists, though, it's a mystery that demands a solution. Why are the masses so different — and why do any particles have any mass at all?

The answer, suggested several scientists back in the 1960's, is that the entire universe is suffused with a sort of energy field — it's called the Higgs field, after the Scottish physicist Peter Higgs who first decribed it. The Higgs field is something like a cosmic molasses, and as particles slog through it, the resistance they encounter is what we measure as mass. Since stars, planets and people are made of those particles, the Higgs field is why we have mass as well.

For the Higgs field to do its magic, it has to ping the protons, electrons and the rest with its own proprietary particle known as the Higgs boson. If you can't find the boson, you can't prove the existence of the Higgs field — and if you can't prove the Higgs field, you can't explain where mass comes from. So detecting the boson is no minor thing.

By particle standards, the Higgs should be something of a bruiser. Physicists' calculations suggest it would be far more massive than any particle seen to date — and please don't ask why the Higgs itself has mass. (OK, if you must, it's probably because the Higgs interacts with its eponymous field, just as any other particle does.)


A descent, down-to-earth explanation of the Higg's Particle and why it matters.

Folksonomies: physics

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Higgs boson (0.741190): dbpedia | freebase | yago
W and Z bosons (0.723121): dbpedia | freebase
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 The Higgs Boson: Have Scientists Found the Mystery Particle?
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Hahn, Reidar (3/8/2012), The Higgs Boson: Have Scientists Found the Mystery Particle?, Time Magazine, Retrieved on 2012-03-08
  • Source Material [www.time.com]
  • Folksonomies: physics