The Higgs Boson Explained

SCIENCE: The Higgs Boson explained in video

There’s been a lot of hype this week over whether or not physicists have discovered the Higgs Boson or “God Particle”. It has left many excited, others offended and a large portion of the public confused.

PHD Comics have put together this great animated explainer video, which may help those who are unfamiliar with the Higgs Boson to understand what all the fuss is about.

The Higgs Boson Explained

I’m going to have a crack at explaining it to the best of my ability as well.

To put it very simply, atoms were once believed to be the smallest building blocks of matter. Scientists have since managed to split open and peer inside atoms and discovered that they contain protons, electrons and neutrons. Physicists have been able to break these down even further and discover more particles. This is where things got a bit quarky. Out came Quarks and Leptons – 6 of each making a total of 12 particles discovered to date.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator that is used to speed up particles close to the speed of light before smashing them into each other. The results are often unpredictable, but what has been hoped is that physicists might catch a glimpse of the Higgs Boson, which has been theorised to be the new most simplest building block in the Universe.

Physicists are only given a fraction of a second to observe what happens when different particles collide into one another. The LHC is therefore run 40 million times a second, all day, all year round.

Without the Higgs Boson, scientists cannot account for why matter (or other particles) have mass. It is thought that in the early stages of the Universe, all particles passed through a Higgs Field from which they acquired their mass. Basically, it is an attempt to understand what happened during the first second after the Big Bang.

These are a couple of related news articles you might find insightful:


Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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