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Category Archive: Higgs

May 01 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 20: Concluding thoughts (and bibliography)

It is time to wrap up what turned out to be a much longer series of posts on the Higgs than I anticipated when I started it, probably with a lot more information than readers wanted to know! (For previous posts in this series, click on the Higgs folder just below the blog post title.) …

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Apr 29 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 19: Nobel dilemmas

As soon as the discovery of the Higgs was announced in July 2012, there was immediate talk of who would get the seemingly inevitable Nobel prize for it, with some anticipating that it would be awarded even as soon as the same year. This did not happen and I personally did not expect it. For …

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Apr 26 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 18: What else is the Higgs good for?

So now that the Higgs has supposedly been discovered and an important prediction of the Standard Model confirmed, what’s next? Is it of any use or is it just going to sit on the particle physics shelf as a trophy to the success of big science? This is hard to answer now and may become …

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Apr 24 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 17: Other design challenges of the LHC

Magnetism is weird but in a fun way. Who as a child has not played with magnets and wondered how they worked? And for many a scientist it was what first attracted them to their field. Magnets are our first introduction to the idea of invisible forces that seem to permeate all space and can …

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Apr 22 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 16: Design challenges of the LHC

The most obvious design challenge to detect the Higgs particle is that the colliding particles needed to have energies that are sufficient to produce the Higgs. Not knowing the mass of the particle complicated things but having a good idea that the upper limit of mass should be around 1 TeV helped. (For previous posts …

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Apr 19 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 15: Producing the Higgs

It is time to turn to the issue of how to produce the Higgs particle. Particles that are too short-lived to be found in nature have to be produced in the laboratory. What one does is to use Einstein’s famous relation E=mc2. If one has energy large enough, one can in principle produce any particle …

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Apr 17 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 14: How the Higgs was identified

Higgs data ATLAS

In the previous post, we had arrived at the seeming impasse concerning the detection of the Higgs particle in that the particles that we can detect (because they live long enough to reach the detectors) are either those that the Higgs does not directly decay into (photons) or have very small probabilities of doing so …

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Apr 15 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 13: Detecting the Higgs

Atlas detector

In the search for the Higgs particle, we had to overcome two problems: producing it and detecting it. Both those things are difficult and I will first look at the detection part. The Higgs particle is unstable, in that left to itself it lasts for a very short time. We know this since its mass …

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Apr 12 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 12: How the quarks and leptons acquire masses

In the previous post in this series, we saw how the Higgs mechanism gave rise to the masses of the weak interaction force particles W+, W-, and Z. We also saw how the process of spontaneous symmetry breaking that was part of that mechanism resulted in the Higgs field having a non-zero average value even …

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Apr 10 2013

The Higgs Story-Part 11: The Higgs mechanism

We have finally reached the stage where we can explain the Higgs mechanism. In part 3 of this series, I said that the complete set of elementary particles consisted of six quarks, six leptons, six ‘gauge bosons’ (particles that are the agents of the four fundamental forces), and the Higgs particle. In part 7, I …

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