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Science Forum

  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    13 Dec '11 15:58
    Have they spotted the Higgs boson?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16158374
  2. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    13 Dec '11 18:41
    Originally posted by sh76
    Have they spotted the Higgs boson?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16158374
    Anybody reading that report without actually having any back-up data is gonna have their heads implode.

    Perhaps a short explanation to help us all?
    As far as I know, it's something like this:

    Light has no mass. A chair does. They both started at the same point.
    At which point and how did a chair gain mass and light didn't.
    That's what they're searching for.

    ??? Something like that?
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    13 Dec '11 23:04
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    Anybody reading that report without actually having any back-up data is gonna have their heads implode.

    Perhaps a short explanation to help us all?
    As far as I know, it's something like this:

    Light has no mass. A chair does. They both started at the same point.
    At which point and how did a chair gain mass and light didn't.
    That's what they're searching for.

    ??? Something like that?
    Well, I'm no physicist, but all I really know is that H/B has been predicted to exist as the basis for all mass for decades, but has not been identified yet. If they have done so now, it would be a huge discovery.
  4. Subscriber WoodPush
    Pusher of wood
    13 Dec '11 23:10 / 1 edit
    Cool. But... why is this one of the biggest scientific discoveries in the past 60 years, as the article claims?

    Will this really directly impact my life in the way that the biggest scientific advances of the past 60 years have?

    Or is that just sensationalism.
  5. Subscriber Sleepyguy
    Reepy Rastardly Guy
    14 Dec '11 00:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    Anybody reading that report without actually having any back-up data is gonna have their heads implode.

    Perhaps a short explanation to help us all?
    As far as I know, it's something like this:

    Light has no mass. A chair does. They both started at the same point.
    At which point and how did a chair gain mass and light didn't.
    That's what they're searching for.

    ??? Something like that?
    Here's a brief article that tries to explain it. As I understand it, it's the Higgs field, not the boson, that they are trying to prove or disprove. The discovery of the boson will prove the existence of the field (or something).

    This was written before 2005:

    Higgs Boson

    You asked:

    How does the Higgs boson generate the masses for all other particles? Is it the carrier of a force?

    Dear Umut,

    You need to distinguish between the Higgs boson and the Higgs field. The Higgs field is the stuff that gives all other particles a mass. Every particle in our universe "swims" through this Higgs field. Through this interaction every particle gets its mass. Different particles interact with the Higgs field with different strengths, hence some particles are heavier (have a larger mass) than others. (Some particles have no mass. They don't interact with the Higgs field; they don't feel the field.) It is the opposite of people swimming in water. As people float in water they "become" lighter. Depending on size, shape, etc, some people float better than others.

    The Higgs field is not considered a force. It cannot accelerate particles, it doesn't transfer energy. However, it interacts universally with all particles (except the massless ones), providing their masses.

    The Higgs boson is a particle. It gets its mass like all other particles: by interacting with ( "swimming in" ) the Higgs field. But as you can imagine, the Higgs particle differs from all the other particles we know. It can be thought of a dense spot in the Higgs field, which can travel like any other particle. Like a drop of water in water vapor.

    The Higgs boson has many more ways of interacting with all other kinds of particles than the Higgs field (which just causes a "drag" = mass). In this sense one my call the Higgs particle the mediating particle of the proposed Higgs field, like you wrote. The Higgs field is the silent field that gives the mass. We cannot directly probe for it. But discovering the Higgs boson, the "mediator", would prove the existence of the Higgs field.

    The Higgs particle, like many other elementary particles, is not a stable particle. Since it interacts with all kinds of other massive particles it can be created in collisions. (The Higgs particle does not interact with massless particles, such as a photon or a gluon. Since these particles don't interact with the Higgs field, the Higgs boson also doesn't interact with them.)

    Once the Higgs particle has been created, it will eventually decay. Though the Higgs particle interacts with all massive particles it prefers to interact with the heaviest elementary particles we know, especially the top quark, which was discovered at Fermilab in 1995. Because of this property of the Higgs boson physicists at Fermilab might have a chance to find evidence for the Higgs boson itself within the next five to six years. If they are not successful then an accelerator currently build at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, will have enough energy to produce the Higgs boson. Fermilab's accelerator currently is the world's most powerful accelerator, but physicists don't know whether it has enough power to create Higgs bosons. The new accelerator at CERN will have more power, but construction won't be finished until 2005.

    The Higgs particle is considered to be a carrier of a force. It is a boson, like the other force-transferring particles: photons, gluons, electroweak bosons. One may call the force mediated by the Higgs boson to be universal as the Higgs boson interacts with all kinds of massive particles, no matter whether they are quarks, leptons, or even massive bosons (the electroweak bosons). Only photons and gluons do not interact with the Higgs boson. Neutrinos, the lightest particles with almost zero mass, barely interact with a Higgs boson. Top quarks, which have about the mass of a Gold atom, have the strongest interaction with a Higgs boson.

    For further reading I recommend two books:
    Popular science reading: L. Lederman, The God Particle
    Scientific reading: S. Dawson et al., The Higgs Hunter's Guide

    Sincerely,

    Kurt Riesselmann
    Fermilab Public Affairs

    http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/higgs_boson.html
  6. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    14 Dec '11 01:47
    Originally posted by Sleepyguy
    Here's a brief article that tries to explain it. As I understand it, it's the Higgs field, not the boson, that they are trying to prove or disprove. The discovery of the boson will prove the existence of the field (or something).

    This was written before 2005:

    Higgs Boson

    You asked:

    How does the Higgs boson generate the masses for all o ...[text shortened]... irs

    http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/higgs_boson.html
    I don't think the Higgs field has been proven to 5 sigma though.
  7. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    15 Dec '11 06:18
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I don't think the Higgs field has been proven to 5 sigma though.
    No, it's at two at the moment (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean, but hey... I'm a social worker, not a bloody scientist).

    The reason that it's important is because if everything evolved from a big bang, how come some things gained mass and some things didn't? God?
    No. A boson.
  8. 15 Dec '11 06:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I don't think the Higgs field has been proven to 5 sigma though.
    You're right.
    The Higg field is not observed.
    The Higg boson on the other hand is.
    Some think.
    So far to 2 sigma.
  9. 04 Jan '12 14:13
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    You're right.
    The Higg field is not observed.
    The Higg boson on the other hand is.
    Some think.
    So far to 2 sigma.
    I can't say much about the Higgs, I am not a physicist. I am also not a statistician but I thought some people here might be interested in the BBC's "More Or Less" podcast.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/moreorless

    It goes into various statistics that hit the UK news and had a bit recently about the Higgs announcement and the use of sigma in general:

    http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/moreorless/moreorless_20111216-1645a.mp3

    Thought it might be of interest.

    --- Penguin.