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The Higgs boson (or Higgs particle) is a particle that gives mass to other particles. Peter Higgs was the first person to think of it, and the particle was found in March 2013. It is part of the Standard Model in physics, which means it is found everywhere. It is one of the 17 particles in the Standard Model. The Higgs particle is a boson. Bosons are particles responsible for all physical forces except gravity. Other bosons are the photon, the W and Z bosons, and the gluon. Scientists do not yet know how to combine gravity with the Standard Model.
It is very difficult to detect the Higgs boson with the equipment and technology we have now. These particles are believed to exist for less than a septillionth of a second. Because the Higgs boson has so much mass (compared to other particles), it takes a lot of energy to create one. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN is the equipment scientists used to find it. The collider has enough energy that it is able to make Higgs bosons. When you smash particles together, there is a small chance a Higgs Boson will appear, so the Large Hadron Collider smashed lots of particles together to find it.
Higgs bosons obey the conservation of energy law, which states that no energy is created or destroyed, but instead it is transferred. First, the energy starts out in the gauge boson that interacts with the Higgs field. This energy is in the form of kinetic energy as movement. After the gauge boson interacts with the Higgs field, it is slowed down. This slowing reduces the amount of kinetic energy in the gauge boson. However, this energy is not destroyed. Instead, the energy is converted into mass-energy, which is normal mass that comes from energy. The mass created is what we call a Higgs boson. The amount of mass created comes from Einstein's famous equation E=mc2, which states that mass is equal to a large amount of energy (for example, 1 kg of mass is equivalent to almost 90 quadrillion joules of energy—the same amount of energy used by the entire world in roughly an hour and a quarter in 2008). Since the amount of mass-energy created by the Higgs field is equal to the amount of kinetic-energy that the gauge boson lost by being slowed, energy is conserved.
Higgs bosons are used in a variety of science fiction stories. The physicist Leon Lederman called it the "God particle" in 1993. He used this name to get attention and support for experiments to detect the particle. However, most scientists do not like this name, because the particle has nothing to do with any kind of god and the nickname might confuse people.
On the 12 December 2011, the two teams at the Large Hadron Collider looking for the Higgs Boson, ATLAS and the CMS, announced that they had finally seen results which could suggest the Higgs Boson particle existed; however, they did not know for certain if this was true.
On 4 July 2012, the teams at the Large Hadron Collider declared that they had discovered a particle which they think is the Higgs boson.
By March 2013 the teams had done much more testing, and announced that they now thought the new particle was a Higgs boson.
- Rincon, Paul (13 December 2011). "LHC: Higgs Boson 'may have been glimpsed". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16158374. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- BBC News - Higgs boson-like particle discovery claimed at LHC - Retrieved 4 July 2012
- The Official Website of ATLAS Project, a leading Higgs Boson research project: atlas.ch