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The Higgs Mechanism Explained

The Higgs Mechanism Explained

The Higgs boson is a particle that helps transmit the mass giving Higgs field,
similar to the way a particle of light, the photon, transmits the EM field. The Higgs boson is, if nothing else, the most expensive particle of all time, while finding the Higgs boson required the creation of experimental energies rarely seen before on planet Earth. The Higgs field is a force field that acts like a giant vessel of molasses “spread throughout the universe”. Most of the known types of particles that travel through it stick to the molasses, which slows them down and makes them heavier.

Higgs boson

We wouldn’t recognize the world. Without the Higgs boson or something like it giving mass to the basic building blocks of matter, electrons would move about at the speed of light. They would not form conjugations with protons or other would be nuclei to make atoms. Without atoms, there would be no chemical reactions, no molecules, no ordinary matter as we know it and no template for life.



Scientists had searched for the Higgs boson( Obeys Bose- Einstein Statistics) for more than two decades, starting with the LEP ( Large Electron-Positron Collider) experiments at CERN in the 1990s and the Tevatron experiments at Fermilab in the 2000s. Years’ worth of LEP and Tevatron data nailed down the search for the Higgs particle. Then, in 2012 at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), two experiments, ATLAS and CMS, reported the observation of a Higgs like particle.

Higgs field as inflation

The Higgs boson, like other heavy particles, decays into lighter particles, which then decay into even lighter particles. This process can follow a certain number of paths, and it’s more likely to decay through some paths than others. The decay paths also depend on the particle’s mass.

To determine the mass of the Higgs boson, scientists compared the decay paths they have observed after a particle collision to the decay paths they simulated with computers and mapped out for a possible range of Higgs masses. When they observed a decay path that looked similar to the one they predicted, in other words, when they saw a match,they knew they had seen a Higgs boson.

Mo = Rest mass of the particle, M= Relativistic mass of the particle , V = velocity of the particle , c = Speed of light.

By adding up the energy of all the lighter particles appearing in a particular decay path, scientists calculated the Higgs boson’s mass to be about “125 billion electron volts (GeV), or about 125 times heavier than a hydrogen atom. So it can’t travel faster than the speed of light or even with the speed of light, if it does so, its energy has to be infinite, which is impossible”.

With further analysis the new particle was confirmed as the Higgs boson in 2013. Around 7,000 scientists from more than 40 countries, contributed to this discovery. It resulted in a Nobel Prize in physics in 2013 to Peter Higgs and François Englert, who first had proposed the existence of the Higgs boson in 1964.

Scientists still have much to learn about the Higgs boson, how it relates to other particles, whether it gives mass to neutrinos and dark matter, and whether there is more than one type of Higgs boson. While scientists have observed some of the predicted Higgs decays into other particles, they have not yet observed all of them. In 2015, the LHC began its second run at a 60 percent higher energy, which will enable ATLAS and CMS to produce more Higgs bosons for study and opens up the possibility for producing additional types of Higgs bosons.

by Venkat Panchadi

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