If you're talking to a scientist about the Higgs boson, don't call it the "God Particle," as it's been dubbed in the media.
You're nearly certain to trigger a wince, a grimace, or at the very least a brief burst of minor irritation.
When the particle's discovery was revealed in 2012, the phrase "God Particle" was emblazoned over the front pages of news outlets all over the world. Although "God Particle found" sounds more exciting than "Higgs boson discovered," most scientists despise the term.
Scientists who spoke about the Higgs boson said that it wasn't the first name for the particle. It wasn't even the first name for the particle.
According to legend, Nobel Laureate and scientist Leon Lederman dubbed the Higgs the "Goddamn Particle." The term was intended to mock the difficulty of detecting the particle. It took nearly a half-century and a multibillion-dollar particle accelerator to achieve this.
Aside from the unnecessary religious connotation, the appellation provides little to describe what the Higgs boson really does. People think the particle is linked to the Higgs field, which they think is everywhere in space-time and helps other particles get their mass.
Most physicists would agree that the particle's proper name is optimal. It calls the particle a boson and pays homage to the physicist who predicted its existence in the 1960s.
The Higgs boson is a basic particle linked to the Higgs field, which imparts mass to other fundamental particles like electrons and quarks. When a particle encounters a force, its mass dictates how much it resists altering its speed or location. There are certain basic particles that do not have mass. A photon is a light particle that conveys the electromagnetic force but has no mass.
Peter Higgs, François Englert, and four other theorists suggested the Higgs boson in 1964 to explain why some particles have mass. The ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland verified its existence in 2012. In 2013, Higgs and Englert were given the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.
Scientists are now investigating the Higgs boson's characteristics to see if they fit the predictions of the Standard Model of particle physics. New scientific discoveries could be made if the Higgs boson doesn't follow the model. It could show new particles that only interact with other Standard Model particles through the Higgs boson.
Higgs boson graphics with proper color identifications
In the 1970s, scientists discovered that two of the four basic forces, the weak force and the electromagnetic force, are inextricably linked. The two forces may be explained using the same theory, which is the Standard Model's foundation. According to this "unification," electricity, magnetism, light, and some forms of radioactivity are all manifestations of a single underlying force known as the electroweak force.
Except for a critical flaw, the unified theory's core equations accurately explain the electroweak force and its accompanying force-carrying particles, particularly the photon and the W and Z bosons. All of these particles appear to be massless. While this is true for photons, the W and Z have a mass roughly 100 times that of a proton. Theorists Robert Brout, François Englert, and Peter Higgs, fortunately, proposed a solution to this difficulty. When the W and Z interact with an unseen field, now known as the "Higgs field," which pervades the cosmos, the Brout-Englert-Higgs process gives them mass.
The Higgs field was zero just after the big bang, but when the cosmos cooled and the temperature dropped below a threshold level, the field expanded spontaneously, giving every particle interacting with it mass. The heavier a particle is, the more it interacts with this field. Particles that do not interact with it, such as the photon, have no mass. The Higgs field, like other fundamental fields, has a particle connected to it: the Higgs boson. The Higgs boson, like a wave on the surface of the water, is the way the Higgs field is shown to the outside world.
Dark matter, the enigmatic additional mass in the cosmos that emits no light yet exerts gravitational attraction, might be made up of primordial black holes that formed during the Big Bang.
According to a recent idea, the Higgs boson is responsible for the development of these small black holes.
This idea, published in the journal Physical Review Letters on March 23, claims that instabilities in the field that gives birth to the Higgs boson, the enigmatic "God" particle found at the Large Hadron Collider, formed these primordial black holes (LHC).
According to research co-author Antonio Riotto, a physicist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, "the explanation may account for all the dark matter" in the form of primordial black holes.
Some scientists, however, believe that these primordial black holes are unlikely to explain all of the dark matter seen in the universe.
Vanderbilt University researchers believe they may be able to transport a kind of matter known as the Higgs singlet into the past using the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest atom smasher buried underground near Geneva.
According to a report by Live Science, it is unclear if the Higgs singlet exists and if the machine can make it.
The Higgs singlet is connected to the Higgs boson, termed "God's particle" since it is involved in giving other particles mass, which the 27-kilometre long atom smasher might generate.
Scientists believe that if the Higgs boson is discovered, the Higgs singlet will follow.
According to physicist Professor Thomas Weiler and graduate fellow Chui Man Ho, the Higgs singlet may be able to jump over space and time, go via a secret dimension, and then re-enter our dimension forwards or backwards in time.
Both the singlet and the boson are named after the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs. The singlet is a very technical word for a particle that does not interact with matter in the normal way.
The study is based on the M theory, sometimes known as "the theory of everything," which aims to combine the causes of all matter.
The Higgs boson, in its own right, is still revealing more of its secrets to scientists at CERN and abroad. Observing the numerous ways the Higgs boson decays into other particles is one approach to learning more about how it operates—and if it genuinely is accountable for the mass of all the other fundamental particles, it is another. It usually decays into quarks, but it has also been discovered to decay into muons, which are a whole different kind of particle. This shows that muons, like quarks, get their mass through the Higgs process.
We may be in for some unexpected surprises from the Higgs boson. For example, the particle detected—which was towards the lower end of the projected mass range—may not be the only Higgs particle out there. There might be a whole family of Higgs bosons, some considerably bigger than the one we know about right now. Recent research, on the other hand, reveals that if the Higgs had a considerably larger mass than it does, the universe would have collapsed catastrophically before it had a chance to get started. Thankfully, other portions of the multiverse may have suffered the same fate, but not ours. If that hypothesis is accurate, the Higgs boson is responsible for our entire existence.
The Higgs boson is very short-lived. It quickly breaks down into less heavy particles, like two photons (light particles).
There might be several Higgs bosons. One theoretical model of new physics predicts the existence of five Higgs bosons. The Higgs field interacts with fundamental particles in our universe to give them mass.
The strong nuclear force is mediated by gluons; the weak nuclear force is mediated by W and Z bosons; the electromagnetic force is mediated by photons, and interactions within the Higgs field are mediated by Higgs bosons. The manifestation of the forces that regulate our natural world is the outcome of the gauge boson interaction.
The Higgs boson is one of 17 constituent particles that make up the Standard Model of particle physics, which represents scientists' best guess about how the universe's most fundamental building pieces behave. This was the last one to be found after a five-decade search. Because of its importance in subatomic physics, it is often called the "God particle."