What is a Higgs boson particle?

September 15, 2015


Physicists Are Desperate to Be


Professor Peter Higgs stands in front of a photograph of the Large Hadron Collider at the Science Museum's 'Collider' exhibition on November 12, 2013 in London, England. At the exhibition, which opens to the public on November 13, 2013 visitors will see a theatre, video and sound art installation and artefacts from the Large Hadron Collider, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva. It touches on the discovery of the Higgs boson, or God particle, the realisation of scientist Peter Higgs theory. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)Who better to describe the Higgs boson — colloquially called the “God particle” — than the man who helped theorized its existence and is its name sake?

Dr. Peter Higgs sat down with the BBC’s Life Scientific radio program Monday and gave one of the most basic descriptions he could.

But the Nobel laureate was able to get to the key points in just two minutes on BBC’s show.

Dr. Higgs’ initial reaction to the question “What is the Higgs boson?” was a chuckle.

Then he launched into it.

“…these particles are just packages of energy of some kind of field, ” the 84-year-old said. “And the feature [that] distinguishes this kind of theory, which leads to this kind of symmetry breaking, is the existence of what we, theoretical physicists, call the vacuum, which means nowadays something different than what it used to mean. It’s just the lowest energy state that you could possibily have in which there are no particles around but there maybe something around. And that something around can be a background field of some sort, which pervades the universe.

“In this theory, there is such a background field. And the background field, its interaction with all the other stuff that goes through, is responsible for generating the masses and mass differences of the other particles, elementary particles, [those] which are packages of all the energy in other fields. Simply because the background affects the way the waves propagate.

“But then, the field itself can be excited, or classically to give you waves to the packages of energy of that are the Higgs boson. So it’s an extra which comes with this type of theory, that you need to have something there, which is the excitation of the background field.”

“For me, that’s a beautifully eloquent explanation of what the Higgs field is or what the Higgs mechanism is, ” the radio host said.

Then the host hits him with a more difficult question: “Could you encapsulate that information in 30 seconds?”

Source: www.theblaze.com
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