The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Higgs boson

Higgs bosons are hypothetical elementary particles predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. These bosons are thought to play a rather fundamental role: according to the Standard Model, they are predicted to be the carrier particles of the Higgs field which is thought to permeate the universe and to give mass to other particles. As of April 2005, no experiment has definitively detected the existence of the Higgs bosons. The Higgs field is perceived the same from every direction and is mostly indistinguishable from empty space.

A special article is dedicated to the Higgs mechanism, a physical phenomenon that is responsible for the spontaneous breaking of the electroweak symmetry.

The Higgs boson, sometimes called the God particle, was first predicted in the 1960s by the British physicist Peter Higgs. The Higgs mechanism for giving mass to particles was actually first proposed in the context of solid state physics to explain how particle-like structures in metals can act as if they had an effective mass.

The Higgs boson itself has a characteristic rest-mass. As of 2004, the best estimate for this mass is 117 GeV, with a theoretical upper limit of 251 GeV. Particle accelerators have probed energies up to about 115 GeV, and have recorded a small number of events that could be interpreted as resulting from Higgs bosons, but the evidence is as yet inconclusive. It is expected among physicists that the Large Hadron Collider, currently under construction at CERN, will be able to confirm or disprove the existence of Higgs bosons.

Since the Higgs field is a scalar field, the Higgs boson has spin zero.



Alternatives to the (Standard Model) Higgs field


  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?, by Leon Lederman, Dick Teresi, ASIN 0395558492 (ISBN 0385312113), Houghton Mifflin Co; (January 1993)

See also

External links

In 1993, the UK Science Minister, William Waldegrave, challenged physicists to produce an answer that would fit on one page to the question "What is the Higgs boson, and why do we want to find it?"

Last updated: 05-07-2005 18:00:11
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04