Scientists at CERN are trying to smash protons into each other at the highest possible velocity to just get a glimpse of this particle – even at the risk of creating a black hole and annihilating earth say critics. What is this Higg’s Boson which evokes such a great interest in the minds of modern physicists. some even labeling it The God Particle ?!
Classification of Quantum Particles
Let us start with the types of quantum particles. We basically have Fermions and Bosons.
In simple terms fermions are those particles which make up the universe that we see – they are the electrons, protons, neutrons etc which are the building blocks of the observable universe. To summarize, to a great approximation Fermions are Matter
In technical terms, Fermions are those particles where two of them cannot share the same quantum state (or cannot look same?!), ie they have to obey the Pauli’s Exclusion Principle and follow Fermi-Dirac Statistics
Bosons on the other hand are those quantum particles that influence the fermions. They cause fermions to interact with each other by carrying the fundamental forces of nature ie electromagnetic force, nuclear forces, gravitational force etc. Forces like gravity, electromagnetism and nuclear forces are actually an illusion created by these force carrying particles. To summarize, to a great approximation Bosons are Energy
In technical terms, Bosons are those quantum particles where any number of them can occupy the same quantum state (or can look similar?!). In other words they do not obey the Pauli’s Exclusion Principle nor follow Fermi-Dirac Statistics. What they obey is the Bose-Einstein Statistics.
Quantum Particles as we saw are largely categorized into Fermions and Bosons. Fermions are named after the famous Italian Physicist Enrico Fermi. Bosons are named after the famous Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose.
Max Planck, who is well-known as the Father of Quantum Mechanics had derived the radiation formula largely by guessing to fit the available empirical evidence. It was Satyendranath Bose who later derived Planck’s formula systematically by developing his own statistics of massless particles which did not obey Pauli’s Exclusion principle.
But when Bose sent his work to the scientific journals of Europe to get them published, no journals came forward to publish it because they did not understand it in the first place :)
Then Bose sent his work directly to Albert Einstein, who immediately recognized the importance of Bose’s work and used his influence to get Bose’s work published. Bose in his work also had made use of Einstein’s theory of light being made up of particles called Photons. And hence the name Bose-Einstein Statistics.
So, What is Higg’s Boson?
We know that Bosons give general matter the attributes of Force like electromagnetism, gravity etc. Now Higg’s Boson is a similar boson, except for the fact that instead of causing a force, it is responsible for one of the most fundamental aspects of matter – the Mass! Yes, Fermions (or in general the matter we see in this universe) have mass because of their interaction with Higg’s Boson.
Any particle which has mass interacts with Higg’s Boson, and those which do not have mass do not interact with Higg’s Boson, for example particles of light ie Photons are massless because they do not interact with Higg’s Boson!
But surprising is the fact that nobody has seen a Higg’s Boson today. In other words there is no experimental proof for the existence of this particle. Which is why the scientists at LHC (the Large Hadron Collider), the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider have started experiments to smash particles at nearly the speed of light with a hope that at these high energy collisions (which are similar to the collisions that happened during the Big Bang when our universe was created) they will be able to get a glimpse of this so far theoretical particle – The Higg’s Boson.
And that is also the reason why critics of these experiments are claiming that these collisions can possibly create Black Holes which can possibly grow bigger and destroy entire Earth! But that is entirely another subject for our discussion.
Coming back to Higg’s Boson, it was the physicist Peter Higgs who along with other physicists theorized the existence of this Boson which is said to give the property called Mass to other particles.
Mass is a property which particles obtain because of their interaction with Higg’s Boson. Think about it like the resistance a vehicle faces while moving against a strong wind and calling that resistance Mass. So Mass is what particles obtain when they are moving in a Higg’s field, and mind you this Higg’s field is all pervading in this Universe. Obviously particles have mass everywhere in this universe. The only difference being particles like that of light which simply do not interact with this Higg’s Field or with these Higg’s Bosons and hence which do not have mass, and probably that is the reason why light travels at the speed of light always and no other particles can reach the speed of light because they are slowed down due to their resistance (called Mass) resulting out of their interaction with Higg’s Bosons.
Why God Particle?
Mass is one of the most fundamental properties in this universe, and hence the famous Physicist Leon Lederman coined the term “The God Particle” for this Higg’s Boson which is said to give the particles in this universe their most fundamental property. Well, he was not a religious person and coined this term for fun. In fact the term comes from the title of his Book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
Ledernam also once joked saying, “Physics isn’t a religion. If it were, we’d have a much easier time raising money.”
So does Higg’s Boson exist after all? Well, we need to wait till either we find this particle experimentally or till some experimental evidence comes out rejecting the existence of this God Particle. But as of now, it is the only quantum particle whose existence is yet to be confirmed experimentally.
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Thanks for sharing this article… :)
Thanks for sharing this article… :)
You are welcome Sukanya.
Thanks for this wonderful info
You are welcome Anil.
Your comment: “But as of now, it is the only quantum particle whose existence is yet to be confirmed experimentally.”
We may wish to contemplate the existence of the “graviton” or “the dark matter-on” or “the dark energy-on” as providing particulate equivalence/status to less noble players as “force” and “void”.
You should know (perhaps you already do) that this (how mass is) was elegantly described in 1830 by the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith. 100 yrs earlier than any modern thinker.
Smith said “all things are matter” even spirit is only “matter refined”.
He said there are two types of matter: 1) one to act 2) and the other to be acted upon
He said “Intelligence” is light. To “fulfill the measure of creation” the light of is what provides the “intelligence” (we might now read instructor cell or Higgs Boson) we (physical reality) trusts and depend on… without it a rock would cease to be a rock (paraphrased).
The most remarkable book I’ve read on the subject is an out of print small circulation paperback called “Particles, Waves and Crisis in America… by Melton Stelter. He alone (as far as I can tell is the one person who has plumbed Relativity and Rationalism with Joseph Smith’s input included and credited. Any current physics/quantum/standard such as Feynman’s QED combined with Smith’s treatises on Light is a real mind blowing experience.
But after all I’ve read… the most informative and the most accurate of any “description” (angular/relative and/or conceptual) is contained in the writings of Joseph Smith. You have to dig for it… literally 100s of thousands of articles and historical references but it’s worth it. A truly amazing instance of man communicating with whatever Powers or Resources he did… to see first hand… “things as they really are”.
Keep up the good fight!!! and thanks for your efforts.
Thanks a lot Greg. That was really very informative and useful. I will dig out for those works. And yes, everything in this physical universe has to be physical ie matter for it cannot come into existence outside the big bang. So even spirits and souls all should have been created during the big bang or in its aftermath based on early universe compositions :)
This article leads me to a question..
Higg’s field, made up of Higg’s bosons give everything else, its mass. The article talks about probable range for mass of Higg’s boson. Who/what gives Higg’s boson its mass, if at all Higg’s boson has mass of its own?
Hmm, well to give something to others, first we need to have it :)
Think about electron or proton whose charge is 1.6×10^-18 C, and is the reason for any object to have a charge. So any object which has electric charge should have charge which is a multiple of the electron charge. In other words, no particle can have 11500.5 electron charge. It should be either 11500 or 11501, implying that the charge of an electron is the unit of charge. So charge of a body is given by electron or proton and hence electron/proton should themselves have a charge, and charge of any object is always a multiple of this electron charge.
Similarly Higgs Boson is the particle theorized to give mass to a particle and hence itself should also have a mass, and all mass will always be a multiple of this Higg’s mass provided there is only one type of Higgs Boson with a static mass.
The charge of electron is the elementary charge, and if confirmed the mass of Higg’s Boson will become the elementary mass making mass a quantized property just like charge.
Visiting your blog after a very long time. Cool new look and feel!
Interesting article regarding Higg’s Boson. When in US, I happened to chance upon Ledermann’s book – “If Universe is the answer then what is the question” – in my county’s public library. Nice book, although must admit that a great deal of the stuff went completely over the head!
But talking about bosons and the most elusive one of them – Higg’s boson makes me feel we are getting back to square one in Physics. The 19th century physics started with the elusive all-pervading particle called Lumeniferous aether. Complicated apparatuses were constructed to detect this particle. And the very fact that the aether was not detected, was used to come up with equations for mass, time and space, exacting the Special Theory of Relativity. This was the starting point from which Einstein took off in his quest for relativity. Aether became irrelevant as Einstein came up with relativity sans Lumeniferous Aether.
Now it appears like Aether is back with a bang, in the form of Higg’s Boson. I hope that even if it does not get detected, it will open up one more clue into this mystery called universe!
Yes Sachin, Something similar to Aether should indeed exist because space should be made of something, else there wouldnt be any meaning to saying that space didnt exist before big bang or to say that there is nothing like outside the universe.
Now only the definition of aether has changes into something called Higg’s field, but this time it also incorporates relativity into it, because light is not affected by this Higg’s field because of which photons have no mass and so can travel at the speed of light since they do not face any inertia in space (in the Higg’s field). The concept of Ether was initially given up because that concept said that light speed would be affected by Ether, which was not the case. Now Higg’s field doesnt affect the speed of light so is an acceptable form of Ether :)