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What is a Higgs Boson?

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An event of a Higgs Boson

An event of a Higgs Boson

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

An event of a Higgs Boson

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The Higgs boson is a subatomic particle, a particle smaller than an atom, that is shrouded in mystery. This mysterious particle, nicknamed the God particle, has recently been proven to be existent, and many particle physicists have theorized that the Higgs boson occurs in the Higgs field. To represent the behavior of particles and the forces of nature, physicists have developed the Standard Model. One of the main components of this model is the Higgs field which occurs everywhere, allowing particles to have mass. The Higgs boson can be found in the Higgs field, meaning it can be found anywhere objects have mass. Particle physicists use mass as an indication and as proof that the Higgs field exists. The Higgs field can’t be considered a force because it doesn’t transfer energy or accelerate particles. The scientists theorized that the Higgs field would be almost impossible to observe, and it would be virtually impossible to prove its existence. However, as a result of wave-particle duality, a corresponding particle would have to exist with the Higgs field.  Furthermore, the Higgs boson, a force carrier particle was theorized to exist with the Higgs field. The theorized particle is very unstable, like other fundamental particles, so it would decay very quickly. Since the Higgs boson interacts with massive particles (because it gives particles their mass), a large enough collision could create a Higgs boson. This particle would eventually begin to decay in a way that scientists could measure and observe. As a result, this carrier particle could be observed, therefore proving the existence of the Higgs boson and the Higgs field. So, physicists at CERN,  the European Organization for Nuclear Research, created the Large Hadron Collider. This 17-mile loop of electromagnets accelerated charged particles to 99.99998% the speed of light, fast enough to break down particles into fundamental pieces. The resulting collision resulted in the creation of a Higgs boson.  The Higgs boson’s radiation was observed and proved the existence of this elusive particle. Although scientists know that this particle exists, they don’t understand the particle that well and don’t know what other attributes the particle may have. There are more theories about the Higgs boson, some theorize there is more than one Higgs boson. The Higgs boson might be essential to learning about other quantum mechanics, more about particle physics, and about dark matter, so scientists are still conducting research on this mysterious particle.  

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What is a Higgs Boson?