05 July 2012

Higgs boson?

Everyone says its discovery is tremendously important.  But what is it?  The Guardian supplies some answers:
"The Higgs boson is an elementary scalar particle first posited in 1962, as a potential byproduct of the mechanism by which a hypothetical, ubiquitous quantum field – the so-called Higgs field – gives mass to elementary particles. More specifically, in the standard model of particle physics, the existence of the Higgs boson explains how spontaneous breaking of electroweak symmetry takes place in nature."
Nope; doesn't do much for me, either.  What about this one (for a child in the back of a car)?
"It's a particle that some scientists have been looking for. Because they knew that without it the universe would be impossible. Because without it, the other particles in the universe wouldn't have mass. Because they would all continue to travel at the speed of light, just like photons do. Because I just said they would, and if you ask 'Why?' one more time we're not stopping at Burger King."
I fear that there are things in my philosophy that are forever doomed to remain a mystery (a bit like women really) ...


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