Higgs Boson

Topics: Standard Model, Higgs boson, Particle physics Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: August 30, 2012
The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is a proposed elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson's existence would have profound importance in particle physics because it would prove the existence of the hypothetical Higgs field—the simplest[4] of several proposed explanations for the origin of the symmetry-breaking mechanism by which elementary particles acquire mass.[Note 2] The leading explanation is that a field exists that has non-zero strength everywhere—even in otherwise empty space—and that particles acquire mass by interacting with this so-called Higgs field. If this theory is true, a matching particle—the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field—should also exist and be detectable, providing a crucial test of the theory. Consequently, it has been the target of a long search in particle physics. One of the primary goals of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland—the most powerful particle accelerator and one of the most complicated scientific instruments ever built—is to test the existence of the Higgs boson and measure its properties which would allow physicists to confirm this cornerstone of modern theory. The Higgs boson is named for Peter Higgs who, along with two other teams, proposed the mechanism that suggested such a particle in 1964[6][7][8] and was the only one to explicitly predict the massive particle and identify some of its theoretical properties.[9] In mainstream media it is often referred to as "the God particle", after the title of Leon Lederman's book on the topic (1993). Although the proposed particle is both important and elusive, the epithet is strongly disliked by many physicists, who regard it as inappropriate sensationalism since the particle has nothing to do with God nor any mystical associations,[10][11] and because the term is misleading: the crucial focus of study is to learn how the symmetry breaking mechanism takes place in nature - the search for the boson is part...
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