Higgs Boson


As you sit at your desk, you are displacing the air around you, creating a void in the atmosphere. Like water, air wants to fill the space, so it presses evenly against you. When you move your hand, air piles up in front of your hand, and creates a void behind your hand. In a small way, you are creating an imbalance in the air pressure around your hand. The Higgs Boson is similar in that it is ubiquitous throughout the Universe. As matter moves through the Universe, it disrupts the Higgs field. Instead of changing the pressure around the object, it creates mass. When the object passes, the field stabilizes again, just as air returns to its former state after your hand passes.

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The implications are that objects in space have mass because of their interaction with this Higgs field. There is no grand tabletop upon which the Universe unfolds, everything is in constant motion around something else. The Earth, which seems so solid, is in orbit around the Sun, which is orbiting the black hole at the center of our Galaxy, which is orbiting in our local group of Galaxies. Since everything is moving, it all constantly interacts with the Higgs field, creating mass. Without motion, objects in space would have no mass because the Higgs field would stabilize around them. It’s in the disruption of the field that objects gain mass. That’s what makes the detection of the Higgs Boson particle so difficult. If you shoot an elementary particle through a space, it only disrupts the Higgs field for an instant before it moves out of the detection area. Scientists collide particles in the detection area to enhance the effect. When two particles collide in a detector, their mass is combined for an instant before they annihilate each other. At the Large Hadron Collider, they’re trying to detect the particles that are created after the collision. The theory is that Higgs Boson particles decay into other detectable particles in the aftermath of the collision. It’s a difficult experiment because we don’t currently have a method to detect the Higgs Boson directly. Most of the elementary particles that we’ve detected have been found by smashing larger particles and observing the things that get thrown off of the collision. It’s akin to smashing a rock with a hammer and picking through the debris. That’s the method we use to refine our theories, though. As we become more familiar with the properties of elementary particles, we will develop more refined methods of detecting them. The Higgs Boson isn’t the end of discovery, it’s just another step on the path to understanding the fabric of the Universe.

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