CERN, Higgs Boson and God particle


Let’s first explain what is Higgs field. It is something which gives different masses to various sub atomic particles.

Now we explain this in detail.

Imagine a fighter plane moves and a jumbo jet are moving thru air (with similar powered engine). Which one will move easily? Obviously the fighter plane because it is lighter and more streamlined. The air provides more resistance to large and heavy objects. However, if there is no air i.e. they are both moving thru vacuum, they will both get no resistance and their shape will not dictate which one will move faster.

When Big Bang happened, all particles were mass-less and they were flying in all directions symmetrically at speed of light (because nothing was slowing them down). But within one trillionth of a second, a new field (which is Higgs field) was formed which gave mass to particles – some became heavier and some lighter, which broke the symmetry and particles started moving in different directions at different pace. So Higgs field here is analogous to the air (i.e. something which gives resistance) in the example in last paragraph.

Remember, classical physics depend heavily on gravity i.e. how to particles attract each other. However, if the particles have no mass, then gravitational theory falls apart. Simply speaking, it is the Higgs field which gives mass to particles, which in turn causes gravity to work and which in turn make theories of physics stick together.

So how Higgs field exactly give mass to particles? If I could explain that I would have probably received Nobel prize now. But at least I can give you another analogy.

Imagine you are waiting in airport lounge (i.e. among the masses) and you don’t know any of your co-passengers. Suddenly you discover 2 of your old friends and they started chatting with you after sitting nearby to you. Suddenly a well known film star entered the lounge. Many of the passengers instantly recognize her and suddenly a large group of people formed a crowed centering the celebrity. Thus, the celebrity is attracting more mass than you are attracting with your two friends. Thus Higgs field give mass to different particles – more mass to a celebrity particle and less mass to an average Joe particle.

Higgs Boson is a new kind of particle which gives mass to sub-atomic particles. The scientists at CERN have found something which may be Higgs Boson. But they need to conduct lots of experiments to confirm it is really Higgs Boson.

Again I give you an analogy. Suppose you are clearing your loft and discovered an ancient flower vase. This can be very expensive but only an antique dealer can confirm whether it really worth hundreds or you can just throw it away. So scientists still need to verify if they really found the particle or it was something else.

Some media term this as “God particle”. This is because discovery of this particle will explain how particles get mass which is foundation of classical physics.

Why this discovery is important? Because this can open potentially unlimited new horizons. For example, because aircraft was invented you can how move between continents in a day or because of electricity can read this in your computer. Similar way, this discovery can lead to various benefits for mankind in the fields of science, medicine etc.

Let me take this opportunity to explain what CERN is doing with Large Hadron Collider. In simple terms, they are trying to knock two rocks and sifting the debris to discover what is the smallest particle they could find. They are also trying to create a mini Big Bang to discover what happened that very moment. In fact, most of particles of world today were formed within millisecond of Big Bang happening.

PS: This topic is indeed too difficult to explain in simple terms. But I tried my best. Please let me know if you find any error in the explanation.

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One Response to “CERN, Higgs Boson and God particle”

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