Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University first postulated the subatomic particle that now bears his name in the 1960s. He theorised that all matter has a mass because it interacts with a force field that pervades the universe – an interaction mediated by the boson. The greater the interaction between an object and this field, the greater the mass of that object.Get it? No, me neither ...
Nearly 20 years ago, then-science minister William Waldegrave offered a prize to anyone who could explain the boson in simple terms. The winner drew an analogy with a cocktail-room full of political-party workers who stand uniformly distributed, chatting to one another in a relaxed manner. Into the party walks a former prime minister who, as she moves from one side of the room to another, attracts a small knot of people. This is what the Higgs boson does to matter: the greater the mass of an object, the greater the knot of people and the slower it moves through the "cocktail drinkers" of the Higgs field.
01 January 2012
Science or something?
Let us start the New Year as we mean to continue. In ignorance. The Independent explains the Higgs Boson Particle: