Stephen Hawking in “Starmus” (collection of essays and lectures) warned that “this particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe. “
In standard model of physics higgs boson is a highly unstable particle with zero spin, no electric or colour charge.
How a particle with such properties can be a threat to our universe?
What is Boson?
An elementary particle constitutes fermions and bosons. Bosons are further classified into two types Gauge and scalar bosons. One example of a Gauge boson is photons.
What is higgs boson?
All fundamental particles have some mass. If all the particles have had zero mass our universe wouldn’t have existed.
So In 1960, a theory was proposed by physicists that at the time of the big bang the mass of all the particles was zero. But there existed a field. Particles that interacted with this field gained mass and particles that didn’t remain massless. That field is Higgs Field.
The Higgs field was zero immediately after the big bang, but when the universe cooled and the temperature dropped below a critical point, the field expanded randomly, causing any particle associated with it to gain mass.
The greater a particle’s interaction with this field, the stronger it becomes. Particles that do not interfere with it, such as the electron, have no mass at all. The Higgs field, like all fundamental fields, has a particle associated with it – the Higgs boson.
The Higgs boson is the observable representation of the Higgs field, similar to a wave on the sea’s floor. This field is assumed to give mass to all the elementary particles. Electrons, quarks, bosons all are elementary particles, we can measure their mass but we don’t know where that mass came from. The more particles interact with this field the more mass it gets.
Any fundamental particles as we know are nothing but excitation in the field. The same goes with Higgs boson. The Massless Gauge Boson produced some excitation in the Higgs field proving that the Higgs field exists. That’s all is Higgs Boson, an excitation in that field.
You can see small bump in this image. That is the bump of excitations of higg’s field. In this bump the massless boson gained some mass and then in no decayed. That is why the graph linear after that.
How Was it Discovered?
Time-line of Higgs Boson Discovery:
|1964||Peter Higgs Proposed the theory of Higgs Field|
|1970||Physicists realised that there could be relation between two fundamental forces|
|1983||Large Hadron Collider was proposed|
|2012||Higgs Like boson Announced|
|2013||Higgs Boson was confirmed and Peter Higgs along with Francois Englert were awarded Nobel Prize in physics.|
Why it can’t be found in nature?
Highly Unstable – Decays into other particles in no time.
Can’t be found in Nature!!
And thus, the only way to prove its existence and find out its properties is to make it a lab.
How it happens?
Protons are accelerated at high speed in vacuum tubes.
Made to collide to form Mass.
Detectors detect the presence of Bosons and other particles.
Probability of finding Higgs Boson in 1 in Billion collisions.
1 Billion collision happens per second.
Why it matters?
Higgs Boson has large implications in the field of particle physics and cosmology. It largely helps in using our technology and knowledge to understand Higgs’s theory.
Some significances of Higgs Boson are –
It validates the standard Model of physics thorough mass generation.
It shows symmetry breaking of electroweak interaction which is seen in Higgs field.
The Higgs field is crucial in producing the masses of quarks and charged leptons (via Yukawa coupling), as well as the W and Z gauge bosons (through the Higgs mechanism).
Beyond what the Standard Model demonstrates, the Higgs boson holds the secret to our understanding of evolution. ATLAS and CMS, for example, are searching for “invisible decays” of the Higgs boson, in which it turns into particles that the detectors cannot detect. These unseen objects may be embodiments of dark matter.
We had only ever studied vector fields at the quantum level, such as the electromagnetic field, prior to 2012.
However, unlike the electromagnetic effect, the Higgs field has a continuous non-zero value and cannot be turned on or off. To demonstrate its existence, scientists had only one option: build – and observe – the Higgs boson.
Does Standard Model have all the answers Now?
The standard model is the combination of two-particle physics theories into a single structure that describes all interactions of subatomic particles except those caused by gravity.
We reasoned that since the model explains everything else very clearly, the lonely boson must be right as well.
To recap, the Higgs boson is a particle that is a leftover excitation of the Higgs region, which was needed in the standard model to justify
- The weak nuclear force
- Why all other particles have mass at all
However, the boson is the only independently verifiable bit of the Higgs field since the other parts are entangled in the feeble nuclear force and in giving particles mass.
Higgs boson does fit the standard model that mass can be obtained by a massless boson by spontaneous symmetry breaking. But Standard model makes Higgs boson a parameter to measure. It does not answer why Higg’s Boson exists.
It explains how Higgs boson got its mass but it does not explain why it’s so less than it theoretically was supposed to be according to the standard model.
According to what we know so far, the Higgs boson seems to play a unique role in existence.
François Englert and Peter Higgs were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their theoretical observation that lead scientist to find Higgs boson.
Higgs Boson is indeed a great discovery but we are yet to discover so many things right now to get the full picture of universe and its mysteries.