Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What is a Higgs Boson?

Heady times in science.  Probably the biggest scientific discovery of the last 65 years, the discovery of a particle at 125.3 +/- .6 GeV, very likely the elusive Higgs Boson, confirming the Higgs Mechanism of the Standard Model of particle physics.

Which is great, but I was having a hard time trying to explain it to my parents... up/down quarks, W and Z bosons... to them it sounded like gibberish.   And quite honestly I'm not well-versed enough in particle physics to really do any kind of explanation justice.

But this video from PhD Comics seemed a good jumping-off point for anyone interested in what a Higgs Boson is, and furthermore what CERN does.

Note: this video was made over a year ago, before the confirmation of the Higgs Boson

So if you have kids, try to steer them towards theoretical (for the time being) physics... that's where all the exciting breakthroughs will be occurring for the foreseeable future...  Chemistry is so derivative.  

Also I couldn't help but pass along this joke:

"God particle?  It should be called a priest particle, since you can't have mass without it!"


  1. That joke was awful and we do need more Sheldon's!

  2. LOL such a lame but funny joke. Yeah sure will be big dough there in the future, until they find out they are wrong and search somewhere else.

  3. Thats a pretty good video, I actually got a third of it!!!

  4. That joke was corny but awesome really. I don't understand the "God particle" thing. I also don't get why they can accept the Higg's Boson, which they accept changes a lot, but they won't accept breaking light speed.

    1. the "god particle" thing actually came from a book title written by a different physicist. It was originally "goddamn particle" because finding it was so elusive, but publishing being what it is, the title was changed to sell more books.