What is mass? Why do different fundamental particles in the Universe have
different masses ? Like why is the electron 350,000 times lighter than the top
quark? These are the questions baffling physicists today. Fortunately we may yet
have an answer in the form of the Higgs field first thought up by Peter Higgs.
The Higgs field pervades throughout all space and is the same in all directions.
This concept contradicts the idea of space being "empty". Particles are
continuously interacting with medium we call "empty space" and the Higgs
interaction is one of these, which involves the exchange of a Higgs Boson.
Mass is the inertia or resistance to changes of motion of a particle. Thus
the "harder" it is to move a particle the more massive we observe it to be. The
Higgs field makes it "hard" for particles to move about as the field
continuously "grabs" at them with Higgs bosons. The stronger the
interaction, the bigger the inertia, the larger the mass we observe. Similar to drag forces
experienced by an object travelling through a fluid is the way in which the Higgs field acts
to resist changes to a particles motion.
By finding the Higgs boson we not only prove the existence of the Higgs field
and answer the question of how different masses arise, but also complete the
Standard model of Particle physics. This will pave the way for more advanced
theories which may be able to predict the masses of all the elementary particles, which at the
moment the Standard Model cannot do. The existence or non-existence of this
particle is very important and the search is on at the Tevatron to find it.