[Sci-Tech] Higgs Boson – The God Particle

We all know that recently a Nobel prize has been awarded for the discovery of Higgs Boson. What is so significant about it? Is Higgs Boson really a God Particle? I hope it will surely be answered in the course of this article. 

Universe came into existence at the instance of a Big Bang. Universe is made up of  elementary particles. Elementary particles are the basic components of matter and energy.

They are particles smaller than an atom. On the effect of the attractive and repulsive forces acting between these elementary particles was a massive explosion which paved the way for the universe and our very own earth.

Now what does Higgs Boson has to do with this? Initially, the scientists believed that elementary particles are 16 in number. They can be broadly classified under two names – fermions and Bosons.

The particles that obey the Fermi – Dirac statistics (i.e., they don’t violate Pauli’s exclusion Principle and are associated with + or – half spin) are known as Fermions. The particles that obey the Bose – Einstein statistics (they do violate Pauli’s exclusion principle and have integer spin) are called Bosons.

Quarks are of six types namely up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom quark. Electrons, Muons, Tau and three varieties of neutrinos come under Leptons. Photons, Gluons, W and Z Bosons fall under the category of Gauge Bosons. And now, Higgs Boson became the 17th particle to be known.

Need for Higgs Boson:

 the above particles, photons and gluons do not have masses. Rest has mass. And now… where does this mass come from? The symmetries controlling their interaction require them to be mass less. But what incorporates mass into these particles? ‘Standard Model of Particle Physics ’- which is used to describe the nature of elementary particles could explain every characteristic of it except, ‘How it acquires mass?’
This was answered by Peter Higgs whom the particle was named after. He proposed an idea – ‘The entire universe comprises of a field known as Higgs field which consists of Higgs Boson and it is responsible for other particles to have mass’.

The Role - Higgs Boson Plays:
The elementary particles are surrounded by an invisible field known as Higgs Field. This field is made of Higgs Boson and this particle is responsible for other particles to have mass. You could understand it in this way, we know Light is made of photons, likewise, Higgs field is made of Higgs Bosons and it gives the mass.

What actually happens?
Higgs field was supposed to be a quantum field with some positive energy, assuming that it is prevalent throughout the universe. When disturbed, waves would ride through it say like, ripples on the surface of the water. The smallest possible ripple was called a particle (the Higgs Boson). When other elementary particles move through the field, Higgs Boson gets coupled with them. Stronger the coupling higher it retards the motion of the particle and greater is the mass. This is how the particles acquire mass.

The Discovery:
Even though Peter Higgs could give the explanation for the existence of mass it was necessary to show that a particle of that sort which gives mass to others really existed. So there was a research carried out at Geneva in the very popular Large Hadron Collider (LHC).According to theory of Particle Physics, Higgs Boson is a static, no spin, electrically neutral particle. As we heard, this kind of a particle was discovered in CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) recently and was confirmed that it has to be Higgs Boson. Peter Higgs and Francois Englert hold the Nobel Prize for it. These two scientists were working on the theory separately and both of them were awarded.

Why God Particle?
Higgs Boson has nothing to do with God. The real fact is that owing to the tedious effort in finding the particle and huge amount of money spent on it, the physicist Leon M. Lederman out of frustration named the particle as ‘Goddamn particle’ and was published as ‘God particle’ and later the term became popular among the media. If trillions and trillions of protons were made to collide, only then, it was possible to generate a Higgs Boson that could last for microseconds. Scientists could trace the existence of Higgs Boson very often. But for the authentic announcement, there should be a 5 sigma accuracy (i.e., error can be only one in 1 million) and it was achieved only recently.

What is the Break-through?

Peter Higgs previously, just proposed the idea of Higgs field. But now, the discovery of Higgs Boson particle confirms the existence of a Higgs field. And this, paves the way for the scientists to find what a dark matter is and why some forces of nature are stronger than the other. (For instance, gravity is not as strong as a magnetic field). Higgs Boson may serve as a key to many unsolved mysteries about the universe and has a role in establishing new theories of physics.

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