What is the Higgs Boson?

What is the Higgs Boson?

Ratings: 8.15/10 from 33 users.

What is the Higgs Boson?Scientists behind Sixty Symbols (Ed Copeland, Roger Bowley and Tony Padilla from the University of Nottingham) are doing their best to answer what actually is the Higgs Boson.

Named after Peter Higgs, an Edinburgh University physicist, the Higgs boson is crucial to understanding the origin of mass. The Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. It belongs to a class of particles known as bosons, characterized by an integer value of their spin quantum number.

The Higgs field is a quantum field with a non-zero value that fills all of space, and explains why fundamental particles such as quarks and electrons have mass. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field above its ground state.

Experiments to determine whether the Higgs boson exists are currently being performed using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

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6 years ago

I am by no means a particle physicist or mathematician; however, centuries ago, theoretical physicist referred to the "ether" to attempt to explain their observations. Einstein came along and said their is no ether, it is "space time" curved by objects that have mass. So, it seems to me the Higgs boson, the Higgs field, is the stuff that fills space between the earth and the sun and the space between our solar system and the galactic center and the space between the Milky Way galaxy and all the other galaxies. So, when a region of cosmic gas eventually collapses to form a star or a planet "space time" (the Higgs field) is stretched from surrounding regions and concentrated (curved) into the region of increasing mass (forming star or forming planet). So, the Higgs boson and the Higgs field make up "space time" which is nothing more than the "ether". Help me out here, I'm just an interested observer.

Deus Ex Machina
7 years ago

Much fun, watching this and listening to these humble, brilliant men explain the frontiers of thinking in their and closely related fields, as well as the process by which complex scientific finds and work get done. These outtakes were a nice addition to what I know about this topic. I recommend that readers also consult the blog of Matt Strassler, formerly a particle physicist at Rutgers and Harvard, now a freelance science communicator.

On the topic of intelligence: I'd much rather give money to build a new Webb space telescope or LHC every week than give it to "80% of people living on $10 a day." In my nation we tried pouring tens of trillions in the dimmest and most feckless, and all we have to show for it globally is massive proliferation of the dim and feckless. Go to the site Population Pyramids dot net and see how much of human creativity and intelligence has been drained into the sands of r-strategy reproduction and idiocracy.

That's population genetics. The vast majority of humans distribute well to the left of the intelligence and potential curves. That "genius searching the trash dump" is arithmetically so improbable for a given population of failed humans that it isn't worth wasting the money finding it.

I speak as a woman born to a very poor family whose IQ tested (multiple times) between 145 and 165. Nothing stopped me, and I was too smart to "beg on the streets" and so genetically robust that no "preventable childhood disease" stopped me either. I had most of them, and several enough to cause me lifelong physical problems that still did not impede me from getting a Ph.D. in statistics and having a good career supporting the proliferation of intelligence. In fact my IQ test that yielded the 145 I took with full-blown pneumonia and a fever of 101. I look back over my life now and see that no hardship ever stopped my intelligence from expressing itself, and I spent my first 22 years in a place that makes Ferguson, MO, look like a garden spot.

The idea that genius or high intelligence is common in all populations has absolutely no data behind it. Quite the opposite: 100 years of data show exactly which populations generate which clusters of personality and intelligence traits.

The idea that genius is that fragile strikes me as romantic...and condescending. Does the previous commenter (who sounds so resentful of people of high intelligence who don't trail some hard luck story behind them) believe that I needed him to thrive despite the rotten hand I was dealt at birth?

Guess, what--I didn't! Life is an intelligence test, and the genuine geniuses I've ever known have been incredibly resourceful, robust, and creative people. To be stopped by one's life and surroundings from realizing one's potential is a commentary on and assessment of that potential.

Tom Carberry
8 years ago

Very interesting documentary. I found very interesting the different levels of skepticism among the 3 speakers. The first one at a relatively young middle age displayed considerable skepticism. The second older scientist basically expressed skepticism not just about the Higgs Boson, but about the standard model as a whole. And then the young last guy really believed. And he did a much poorer job with the hat explanation than the older skeptical guy.

The second scientist brought up various papers and also talked about how scientists in different specialties in quantum theory can't talk to each other, much less to the public.

I think a lot of that happens because science has become big business and secret. I tried to look up the Anderson article and it popped up first on a google search. But when I went to the link you either had to sign in as a paid subscriber or pay a download fee.

What about all the super smart young people out there who might contribute if only they had access to these papers. Satyendra Bose, who they mentioned and after whom they named the boson, translated Einstein's papers into Hindi and distributed them.

Do these people think that only a small cadre of people have the intelligence to do what they do? Maybe, but super smart people get born every day all around the world. But 80% of the people live on less than $10 a day, so they have no chance under our pay to play system. How many geniuses wind up searching for scraps in trash dumps or begging on the streets, or dead at an early age from a preventable childhood disease?

Melissa Barnes
10 years ago

great documentary! i am not a physicists so at times i was a bit lost, but overall, i have a better understanding of the higgs boson particle

10 years ago

can i tell you something buddy ??? the name higgs boson's does not necessarily contains the name of higgs , here the portion boson came from the most renowned physicist and mathematician sir sottendronath boso ... we call it by his name the boson's particle ..you should all make up your mind correctly each time you utter this word ...

10 years ago

terrible, boring speecher. i came to this link to learn this ****, but he is constantly making me sleepy.

10 years ago

Screw the critics. It's a brillilant theory...

10 years ago

It's a brilliant concept. Screw the nay-sayers...

10 years ago


11 years ago

what i understood so far is:
"Higgs didn't push himself!!!!"

11 years ago

my brain hurts

Jeferson Moraes
11 years ago

Hi. You could do uploading of scripts that video, please? I need of subtitle in english for understand

11 years ago

I'm sorry, but you 'aint got me'. I, for, one haven't a clue what your talking
about. The Higgs-boson particle, (or whatever,) may well be correct, in that it DOES give other particles 'mass' ----------------- but it might also give atoms
their colour! I wonder what colour they (atoms) are?

11 years ago

If the Higgs-Boson particle gives mass to other particlels ------------ there must be as many Higgs- Boson particles in the universe, as there is ordinary matter. If not, then each Higgs-Boson particle must be infinate in mass! It must pass on its Mass-giving 'magic' to every other particle ------------ which
leads me on to the next question; how does it avoid giving its 'magic', to a
particle that has previously been 'magic'd'?

11 years ago

I could do without the ticker at the bottom which is distracting me from trying to understand these ideas.

11 years ago

However Kim Alseer u did just make a paradox, cause 10 cents even though its mathmatically = to a dime; it is still ten cents and not a dime.

11 years ago

Kim Alseer im an American. Here theres 1 understanding, U got 2 cents, that is not = too, nor will it ever be a dime. So, back to the same thing of makeing the dime :) . U need 8 more cents. I could be wrong but im pretty sure my math is right on this. Common sense is a great power! Not a mirror or made believe fountain that only gathers 8 cents. TY!

11 years ago

lets say the field is inside Plack, then the story of the universe/ all its particles, mass, and fluctuations are outside, in the past or in the future, and there by they gain values by being reflections of an infinite zero mass potential, so basically the higgs field is a mirror so potential can be described. far out but just my 2 cent. well make it a dime. This could in fact tie life to the very concept of a higgs field, life is a higs field, adding values to what ever it want. THATS INTERESTING! ;-)

11 years ago

I can no longer afford the time for all of these circular 'discussions'. I made a comment about how eloquently someone described a concept and am unable to respond in kind to someone else's derogatory and unsolicited put down. Not talking about you, you always are polite. x

11 years ago

If the Higgs Boson is crucial, as they say, to understanding the origin of mass, then it is crucial to understanding the origin of the universe. And they are not sure if they have it as yet. So how do we know there is not something else crucial to that understanding?

11 years ago

Physicist Leon Lederman an Atheist coined the phrase "the God particle" he wanted to call it "the Goddamn particle" his editor would not let him. (Too bad)

11 years ago

A Higgs boson walks into a church,
"We don't allow Higgs bosons in here!" shouts the priest.
the particle asks "But without me, how can you have mass?" .

11 years ago

Higgs Boson according to present findings is hypothetical. Why ? So far known Boson was the discovery of our past scientist like Prof. Satyan Bose of India on his mathematical calculation communicated to Einstein in connection with Theory of Relativity etc. Farther more recently, Quartz particles or Anti matters as per String Theory it has only linear existence with no width or height. This is absolutely fantastic. If a particle exist though we may not conceive with our naked eye or with any scientific instrument for mathematical calculation it may not be true that it does not exist. Only our perception or knowledge is limited till now to estimate width & height, which is infinitely smaller but not same as zero perception.

11 years ago

An accidentally leaked video from CERN today (supposedly due to a technical glitch, and almost immediately taken down) announced the discovery of a new particle, that "decays into two protons, has an integer spin, and a mass roughly 100 times that of a proton." All of which fit the Higgs profile.

Wednesday is going to be very interesting, indeed, looks like.

11 years ago


A reply to @Pysmythe just disappeared? Was there something wrong with it or should I repost?

11 years ago

AP News reports one hour and 10 minutes ago that the "God particle" has been found. They have a shadow and a footprint, and all that is left is for them to actually "see it".

They plan to make an announcement Wednesday.

11 years ago

As i am watching the suggested talk The Hidden Reality, i got to think why is this one What is the Higgs Boson showing on TDF instead of Keen?
Just wondering.
A special interest of the owner of the site perhaps, although i think Vlatko owns both sites.

11 years ago

thanks ,for correcting me .i'm not firm on american literature,except of having the pleasure of enjoying hemmingway,bukowski,sallinger(?),burroughs & the sorts,but never 'uncle tom's cabin',which is a standard for american pupils,or not?here in europe it's more hesse,fallada,goethe etc...i've never caught up on 18th-early 19th century american literature,must do !i guess i mixed-up early childhood TV impressions(from 'roots' to 'our little farm on the prairy' with actual history....lol)!
will have to polish up my side-board for a new purchased h.b.stowe book,which hopefully will polish-up my missing knowledge!regards.........uncle dumb

11 years ago

wasn't he the one with the "uncle-tom-judge" quote?i was quite fond of my
mark twain punned reply,as having the opportunity of using terms like "res'twain't"-order & 'mark-my-word'......but no response of shame or defence?!i guess you're right ,as you seem to have had multiple pleasures of
communicating with the gentleman,as i haven't.....i envy your 'contenance'!

11 years ago


if that were so, it would be very difficult to achieve such stability in mass, which is what we observe.

i'm no physicist, but whatever the origin of mass is, it must be bound up within the composition of the larger particles of which it is an aspect.

the fact that in the early (apparently massless) universe, it played no part is extremely odd, by the way.

11 years ago

Fascinating. I love what he says about how we need the lack of symmetry in the universe to exist. I could listen to this kind of thing all day.

Odd, but, this is exactly what my father the Kabbalist says. (not the Madonna kind of Kaballah, the hard core thing)

11 years ago

"Higgs Boson" is nothing because it hasn´t been found - and it never will be either.

The "origin of mass" has nothing to do with a single particle, but with several dynamic forces that acts together on gasses and particles.

Daniel Robinson
11 years ago

Ohhh lol at GodmanEnki - Fool!

11 years ago

why do you not mention : Boson in Higg's Boson is after the name of Satyendra Nath Bose an Indian and Bengali Scientist who gave mathematical model of Einstein's Theory of Relativity

11 years ago

my thanks go out to az,dew & waldo (my nephew got a high, due to your 'likes'
which gave him the notion of posting 'crap' is a virtue!!??°!& he doesn't even speak english!),for replying!thank god,they were deleted(excuse moi,psymythe)!
cheers for the comforting reply,i've more hope for roddenberry's visions than in 'the venus project',which share the same visionary result for mankind...
but whom came first????
again,sorry for the disturbance,i'm now going back to baby-sitting my nephew
& will hopefully see you all tomorrow,with new news about higgs & his undetectable boson(or the other way around?),which hopefully don't make him look like a thick ' planck '.....(higgs,of course!!!)

11 years ago

I like the broken symmetry, one of the only things that almost makes sense to me. Brian Cox explained it somewhere before. I picture it as a water wheel, weighted to make it turn otherwise it stands still. I might be wrong but it's as right as I can get at the moment ;) Did anyone see the free energy doc with the inventors? Now I wonder, if the universe is going to slow and die, how do they ever expect to keep a simple machine going without giving it a push now and then? No need to answer, I might not understand ;)

11 years ago

the particle (higgs boson) is like a single brick in a huge thick wall. imagine the energy one would have to commit in a single, rapidly applied blow to dislodge one of the most central bricks intact. machines like the cern are called collidors or atom smashers for a reason, they are kinetic energy weapons for attacking these particles. dislodge a partial brick from my wall, you get inconclusive results. same for a mass of partial and whole bricks still bound with mortar. the analogy isnt perfect, of course, but it goes a way toward excusing the elusive nature of the particle. the nature of the particle itself reminds me of helium in a way. it wont phase change into a thicker state of existance (helium is a byproduct of natural gas harvesting, for the most part. the gas is collected in a vessel, and supercooled until all but the helium phase changes to liquid, then the helium is sucked out of the vessel). now, is it because it is so light, or is it because it is already "frozen", and thus cant "freeze" anymore? it would seem possible that the theoretical "super-energized" particle could be just the opposite, a "super de-energized" particle, and changes radically when that state is disturbed. no energy, no mass, that's the "back end" of relativity. all of the universe we can detect has a common thread, it resonates in one way or another. it might hum, it might whine, it might dance, it might spin, it might oscillate, but ALL resonates. is it possible the higgs does not, and if forced to, it becomes detectable as a different particle? perhaps the field, and particle have already been "detected" as much as it can be with our insturmentation, as that elusive "dark matter" and "dark energy". how about an even further speculation, could it be the "messenger" of transfer of energy? that its natural entropic state requires it to strive for "sum zero" VERY enthusiastically? disturb that entropy, it becomes a photon, or gluon, etc, but only until it sheds the gained energy to the next boson, then it reverts to "higgs laziness"? such a body would be for all intents impossible to detect, as heisenberg said you cant examine without disturbing, and any disturbance would illicit a metamorphisis (albeit temporary) into a different detectable particle. such a brick could never really be dislodged from my wall analogy, at least not as itself, it could only exist as a part of a matrix of brick and mortar, or it would become a cinderblock, or cobble stone, or casing stone, if dislodged solitarily. now i know, "but harry, the fly in the ointment is the higgs is postulated as a particle WITH mass"... what if they had the wrong sign in front of that mass number, maybe the "+" should be "-". feel free to hurl insults, poke holes in my speculation, speculate on my ancestral lineage or IQ level, whaddaya think kiddies?

11 years ago

So... we thrive in the dip of the brim of a Universal Sombrero?
I'd imagine a few cases of Cuervo and one hell of a mariachi band is in store for some of these blokes pretty soon. :)

11 years ago

A mass-less very early universe... So kinda like a bag of broccoli-noodles: Sauce will thicken upon standing, lol.

edit- Oh, wow, right after I clicked pause off, he went into a food analogy of his own. Makes me feel like I was on the right track just a little bit... somehow, lol.

11 years ago

Higgs Boson, named after two physicists, first Bose an Indian physicist, whose proposal was supported by Einstein to get recognition. Good to give credit to him as well not just Higgs.

11 years ago

Very interesting and informative, though I dont quite think it warrants the type of excitment others seem to think it does. As they said in the doc. they have already bought into the higgs fully so it shouldn't change things drastically if it is discovered. Now when they determine the coupling values and field constant, that will be an unbelievable day. Then we can actually begin to use this discovery to see further into reality than we have ever done before and Mr. rodenberry's dream has a real chance.

11 years ago

I found this doc rather disappointing in that they were trying to describe the concept of a concept that they hardly understood at all. Using the ‘mexican hat’ analogy of the Higgs Boson particle turning potential energy into kinetic energy by moving down the crown of the hat to the brim and getting excited by arcing back and forth from the base of the crown to the base of the brim until the kinetic energy turns into a mass field, I think is pretty lame.

I think the Higgs Boson is the gestalt of electromagnetic fields caused by the bonding of particles (atoms); similar to the electromagnet force generated by placing like poles of very strong magnets together. The strength of the magnetic field(s) created by these opposing forces is stronger than the weak force that holds the shared electrons of two or more atoms together, but weaker than the strong force that holds the protons together.

This allows for the breaking or chunking of larger mass fields into smaller mass fields and still hold onto the integrity of the initial mass field; why an axe can go through a piece of wood, why a knife can go through butter and why a laser can go through metal. I suspect that there is a critical mass required, depending on the characteristics of the bonding atoms, which determines mass density; steel vs. aluminum. The rest I think is an interpretive response by our senses and our brain (mind) to this cumulative force field.

11 years ago

@ thenesteamonster

That was some speech! I listening to some mellow sounds right now, I've got to watch this one now (thumbs up).

11 years ago

excellent!it is fascinating to live in this day & age !when it is proven, by finding the particle that creates mass,then the next step will be like a step
into a new realm.....