The search for the Higgs Boson:
Introduction


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.


Last modified Wed 23 January 2002 . View page history
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