Please Explain: The Higgs Boson

Friday, July 20, 2012

Early this month, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced that they found convincing evidence of a new particle called the Higgs boson. Sometimes called the “god particle,” the Higgs boson gives mass to the elementary particles that make up the universe. Brian Greene, Professor of Mathematics and Physics and author of The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, and Kyle Cranmer, Assistant Professor of Physics at New York University, help us decipher what the Higgs is and why it matters, and explain how the Large Hadron Collider works.


Kyle Cranmer and Brian Greene

Comments [20]

Ed from Larchmont

Stephen Hawkings has a tendency not to believe in things that turn out to be true.

Subtle is the Lord.

12 elementary particles - why I would make the guess that string theory will find that there are 12 dimensions to physical reality.

Jul. 21 2012 11:43 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Meanwhile, Brian Ross of ABC News is reporting that the Higgs boson sighting was just a passing truck.

Jul. 20 2012 02:00 PM
anon from nyc metro area

Perhaps Professor Green would explain the relationship of the ST to the Veneziano amplitude.

And perhaps he might also explain whether the SM fits the data well without ST

Jul. 20 2012 01:59 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Huh. I would've thought the reason for creating the particles was that they didn't exist separate from the matter they're giving mass to, & they need to be isolated from that in order to be detected, or at least recognized.

Jul. 20 2012 01:56 PM
Mel from Hartford

Could the guests speak about how the Higgs boson and the Higgs field relates to gravity. Is there a connection between the two?

Jul. 20 2012 01:54 PM
stanley S from Brooklyn NY

Does this help resolve some of the paradoxes between general relativity and quantum mechanics ?

Jul. 20 2012 01:47 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If the Higgs boson were never found, physicists would have to find another explanation for mass.

Mark from Brooklyn--yeah, some explanations I've heard remind me of the ether!

Jul. 20 2012 01:47 PM
Arlo from manhattan

The mass found for the candidate Higgs particle by LHC and the absence of other particles has a severe impact on Supersymmetry Theory and dark matter candidates, and Brian should explain this.

Jul. 20 2012 01:43 PM
Jim B

Why was the announcement that the particle had been found qualified? What doubt remains, if any?

Jul. 20 2012 01:42 PM
John A.

The theory predicted the experiment, and some of its results, but did it predict all of the data? How likely is the experimental data to Add to theory?

Jul. 20 2012 01:42 PM
Ryan B from Jersey City

Question: why must we produce these particles like the Higgs in order to observer them? They must exist in nature if they are serving this purpose of providing mass to other particles. Why can we not study one that already exists?

Jul. 20 2012 01:41 PM
Amy from Manhattan

If the Higgs boson gives mass to matter, does that include antimatter?

Do the multiples of spin 1 follow a pattern? 1, 2, 3.5...?

Jul. 20 2012 01:37 PM
JT from LI

I read that the Higgs has a very brief existence (billionths of a second). Is it possible that an older collider could have created it but the detectors weren't fast enough to see it?

Jul. 20 2012 01:36 PM
John A

Seems line 'the ether' all over again.

Jul. 20 2012 01:35 PM
mark from brooklyn

Does the Higgs Boson remind anyone of the Ether Wind of pre-Einstein physics? Invisible, omnipresent, etc.

Jul. 20 2012 01:34 PM
Marcos from the Bronx

Does this mean the idea that:"Most matter is empty spaces.",which I learned in High School, is not true?

Jul. 20 2012 01:33 PM
JT from LI

This piece in The Atlantic has a good description of the Higgs and it's kin:

Jul. 20 2012 01:33 PM

I've read that the Higgs field doesn't explain the total mass of the universe, but only of some particles like quarks. Most of the mass of an atom comes from the strong nuclear force. Is that correct?

Jul. 20 2012 01:31 PM

I am in the middle of "The Elegant Universe," and really enjoying it! I am not a scientist, but an artist. It's all so fascinating.
I am certainly grasping all the concepts as they are covered; the challenge is retaining them as I learn the next one! I might have to read it twice.

Jul. 20 2012 01:05 PM
Mike from Tribeca

In their latest issue, Atheism Monthly magazine ran a piece about this subject. It was a godless article.

Jul. 20 2012 12:40 PM

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