Higgs Boson and Higgs Field

Higgs boson is a recently discovered elementary particle that is an energy elevation of the Higgs field. Higgs field is present almost everywhere and is the reason why the W and Z bosons are very massive when they should be massless. It is also the field that gives other particles, like quarks and leptons, their mass.

All fundamental forces should follow the laws of nature called symmetries and if the symmetry for the weak force was obeyed, its carriers would have been massless. However, this symmetry was violated and the W and Z bosons indeed are massive. Their mass is the reason the weak force has a very short range. To solve this problem, theorists have developed a mathematical model called the Higgs mechanism that describes how, if the Higgs field exists throughout space, these bosons have mass despite the symmetry that governs them and dictates they should be massless. 

The best way to discover the Higgs field is by detecting the particle associated with it, but that was not an easy task at all. The Higgs field and its particle, the Higgs boson, were theorised in mid 1960s, but the technology needed for their detection and confirmation was not available until the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was built in 2008. In March 2013, Higgs boson was finally discovered, marking the enormous success for the LHC

As mentioned, discovering Higgs bosons is not easy because the particle is very massive and thus highly unstable, decaying into lighter particles after only 1.6 × 10^−22 seconds. Generally, the higher the particle's mass, the higher energies are needed for creating them in particle colliders like the LHC. For this reason, a huge particle collider was needed and with 27 kilometres in circumference, the LHC truly is huge, making it the biggest machine ever built. It is located near Geneva in Switzerland.

Higgs boson has no electric or colour charge. It is also a scalar boson, meaning it has no spin, or spin-0 and is only particle of this kind. Notice that 0 is still an integer number for spin, hence its classification as boson. Spin-0 was important when detecting it in the LHC, because it increases the chances that the detected spin-0 particle is indeed Higgs boson. This and the fact that the particles discovered in the LHC couple to the W and Z bosons was crucial to verifying they indeed are Higgs bosons.

It was named after Peter Higgs, who along with another 5 physicists proposed what is now called the Higgs mechanism. For this, he received Nobel Prize in 2013, together with François Englert.

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