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Higgs Boson

Published: 11th Apr, 2024


Nobel prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called "God particle" that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang, has died at age 94.

Higgs' theory

  • The Higgs boson is the fundamental force-carrying particle of the Higgs field, which is responsible for granting other particles their mass. This field was first proposed by Peter Higgs in 1964?.
  • The particle was finally discoveredon July 4, 2012, by researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.
    • Higgs' theory related to how subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter get their mass.
    • The LHC confirmed the existence of the Higgs field and the mechanism that gives rise to mass.
    • This theoretical understanding is a central part of the so-called Standard Model, which describes the physics of how the world is constructed.
  • Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work, alongside Francois Englert of Belgium, who independently came up with the same theory.
  • Higgs' work helps solve one of the most fundamental riddles of the universe: how the Big Bang created something out of nothing 13.7 billion years ago.

What is Higgs Boson?

  • The Higgs boson has a mass of125 billion electron volts (130 times more massive than a proton).
  • It is also chargeless with zero spin?-?a quantum mechanical equivalent to angular momentum. The Higgs Boson is the only elementary particle with no spin.
  • The Higgs boson is popularly known as the "the God Particle". 
  • A boson is a "force carrier" particle that comes into play when particles interact with each other, with a boson exchanged during this interaction.
    • For example, when two electrons interact they exchange a photon-the force-carrying particle of electromagnetic fields.
  • Because quantum field theory describes the microscopic world and the quantum fields that fill the universewith wave mechanics, a boson can also be described as a wave in a field. 
  • So a photon is a particle and a wave that arises from an excited electromagnetic field and the Higgs boson is the particle or "quantized manifestation" that arises from the Higgs field when excited. That field generates mass via its interaction with other particles and the mechanism carried by the Higgs boson called the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism.

Fact Box: Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

  • Location: European particle physics laboratory CERN, Switzerland.
  • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
  • It first started up on 10 September 2008, and remains the latest addition to CERN’s accelerator complex.
  • The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.

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