Higgs Boson particle found, but understanding still eludes many

By Omar Ibarra

At CERN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland physicists rocket protons toward each other at velocities just short of the speed of light.

As they strike each other they create a blast as powerful as the explosions following the Big Bang.


Well it’s all in the hope of finding a single particle—the Higgs Boson, nicknamed the “God Particle” after an editing issue left that as the book title instead of the originally planned Goddamn particle.

What exactly is the Higgs Boson?

According to Dr. Keith H. Pannell, professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso, “there is a theory and that theory proposed that there was a basic fundamental particle that gives the concept of mass.”

Mass, however, is a more difficult concept to explain than most people think, and even scientists have trouble explaining it.

“Scientists don’t have much understanding of why particles have mass and why they have the masses they do,” particle physicist Dr. Jessica Dunmore, an associate professor at UTEP, explains.

The best explanation is that mass is some intrinsic quality that doesn’t depend on other factors.

Take for example a rock and a cotton ball.  They may be the same size but they aren’t the same weight.

So where does the mass come from?  Take the rock and keep reducing it. Theoretically you could reduce it down all to way to an atom, and then protons, and neutrons, and then quarks, but the problem is they all have mass, no matter how small they are.

Scientists need a beginning point of zero mass which could give the ratio of mass to everything else.

Cue Higgs.

The Higgs Boson possesses the property of zero spin, which indirectly allows other particles to gain mass.  Given that concept, scientists can then be assured that their model, aptly called the Standard Model, is correct.

In the Standard Model the Higgs Field exist as a sort of filter.  All objects, called particles, travel through it, and while some go right through it, like the photon, others like the electron slow down in the field.

When particles slow down during the Higgs boson interaction the particles gain mass.

But the Higgs Boson particle remained elusive for about 50 years, according to Pannell.

Eventually the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva was built for the very purpose of, in Dr. Pannel’s words, “studying fragments that occur when bombarding particles of matter together,” with the notion that, “the faster and higher in energy the more particles that come out when they collide into one mighty explosion.”

Dr. Pannel continues that “all the little fundamental particles get scattered,” and in this mess the Higgs Boson was found.

After analyzing over 300 trillion proton collisions a Higgs-like particle was found on the Fourth of July, 2012, as it decayed in .000000000000000000000000001 seconds.

This gave the experimental proof that the Higgs field exists and that it can be used for other theories.

World leading physicist Edward Witten, visiting physics and mathematics lecturer at Princeton University, explains the Higgs boson implications:

“The Higgs particle predicts a radical idea of supersymmetry which is the basis for the grand goal of physics, a grand unified theory like string theory.”

The Higgs boson lays the foundation for many things to exist, such as the Higgs field that appeared just a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, and supersymmetry, which could lead to the controversial Theory of Everything.

With the “God Particle”, God may be just around the corner.