Understanding Higgs Boson In Simple Terms

Posted on July 15, 2012 in Sci-Tech

By Shashank Bhasker:

Recently an announcement was made by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva for the possibility of existence of ‘God’ particle or Higgs Boson. The phrase “God particle,” was coined by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman. Though an impenetrable concept to many, the Higgs boson has until now been just that a concept intended to explain a riddle – How were the subatomic particles, such as electrons, protons and neutrons, themselves formed? What gives them their mass?

To throw a little light into the history of it, there was a scientist named Peter Higgs who had come out with this concept in 1964. It envisioned an energy field where particles interact with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The idea is that other particles attract Higgs boson and the more they attract, the bigger their mass will be. Even now the scientists are not claiming that they have discovered the particle but are emphasizing on the fact that they might have found its footprint of existence.

CERN’s atom smasher, the $10-billion Large Hadron Collider, has been creating high-energy collisions of protons to help them understand suspected phenomena such as dark matter, antimatter and ultimately the creation of the universe. The experiment had aimed to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, when the universe is thought to have exploded into existence about 14 billion years ago. It would be difficult for most people to understand its significance, just as it would be to comprehend the notion of relativity. But to the world of science the discovery is of immense importance. It would answer many unanswered questions about the existence of universe which have been making scientists go mad over decades of research.

The best part is that there is a strong Indian connection to this discovery. The word “Boson” is derived from Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist from Kolkata who, in 1924, realized that the statistical method used to analyze most 19th-century work on the thermal behavior of gases was inadequate. Bose’s work was clubbed with Einstein and their innovation came to be known as Bose-Einstein statistics, and became a basis of quantum mechanics. Thus it is indeed a proud moment for Indians to see that the work of one the greatest scientist in India is being regarded with so much importance across nations with a great possibility to have a profound impact and unravel the mysteries of the universe once in for all.