The Higgs boson was officially discovered just days ago and I am already receiving requests from Singularity Weblog’s ever curious blog readers to explain the implications of it. Well, I wouldn’t be called Socrates if I didn’t know when I don’t know. So, since this topic is clearly out of my expertise, I decided to post the top 1o best videos on the Higgs boson that I could find.
Starting with the shortest 1 min BBC news clip and ending with 2 bonus videos, I have arranged the list progressively in order of length:
1. Higgs boson God Particle explained by British MP Julian Huppert
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva found a particle thought to be the Higgs boson they were seeking.
Andrew Neil explains the science before Julian Huppert, a former scientist and said to be one of the cleverest MPs in the House of Commons, explains what this really means:
2. Instant Egghead – What is the Higgs Boson?
Scientific American editor George Musser explains why the Higgs is so important to science and to our very existence:
3. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explains the larger implications of the God Particle’s discovery:
4. Minutes Physics video explains the Higgs boson in 3 minutes:
5. John Ellis, theoretical physicist:
John Ellis answers the question “What is the Higgs boson?” in preparation for the press conference following the seminar on Large Hadron Collider 2012 results on the Higgs boson searches, due on July 4 2012 at CERN
6. What is the Higgs boson? (the Guardian)
Science correspondent Ian Sample – author of Massive: The Hunt for the God Particle – explains what a Higgs boson is, how Cern physicists are looking for it, and why it matters if they find it:
7. OMG Higgs: Another ridiculous video from Ze Frank:
8. Theoretical physicist Garrett Lisi explains the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle by CERN scientists. Previously, LHC results have strongly signaled the existence of a Higgs with a mass of 125 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), or roughly 125 times more massive than the proton.
9. The Higgs Boson Explained by PhDComics: (For more videos and comics by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson, visit phdcomics.com/higgs)
This video was made with the support of the University of California at Irvine.
10. Higgs Boson Discovery announcement by Professor Peter Higgs:
4th of July 2012, this is the day the Higgs Boson was discovered by the human race. After 45 years of searching, Peter Higgs can now announce to the world how he has seen the culmination of his life’s work finally blossom into a tangible result, a result which has brought an all too human emotion to this triumph.
Francois Englert, Carl Hagen and Gerald Guralnik are also present in this announcement, who created the theory along with Robert Brout. For this reason it will most likely be renamed the HEB-Boson.
1. Higgs boson: What’s it for?
Prof. Professor Peter Higgs admits he has “no idea” what the discovery of the Higgs boson will mean in practical terms.
2. Brian Malow joke on the Higgs boson:
The Higgs field and resulting Higgs boson are a vital part of the Electroweak Interaction and the Standard Model of Particle Physics. In the absence of the Higgs field, when a Local Gauge is applied to the Lagrangian of the Electroweak Interaction we are left with force-carrying bosons that are massive, the W and Z Bosons with masses of ~80GeV and ~90GeV respectively. This would be okay for the Photon as it has no mass. The Higgs mechanism was the most favoured explanation for solving this problem.
In brief, the Higgs field is introduced to ‘break’ the symmetry of the Electroweak theory, which allows particles to have mass.
This Higgs mechanism is important as it not only explains how the heavy bosons become massive but also provides an explanation as to how the fermions come to have mass.
The Mechanism of the interaction is simple to understand. Where the Electroweak Interaction couples to electric and weak (or flavour) charges and the Strong Interaction couples to colour charge, the Higgs interaction couples to mass. The process by which the Higgs gives fermions mass is via the Yukawa potential. This potential gives the coupling strength of the Higgs to all types of fermions, the stronger the coupling, the more mass the particle will have. Hence the Higgs Boson couples more strongly to more massive particles, hence the energies of the LHC were necessary to create the most massive particles for the Higgs to couple with.
Why we needed this boson is a bit more complicated, which corresponds to Peter Higgs, Yoichiro Nambu and Jeffrey Goldstone’s theoretical research.
In the Electroweak interaction you can examine the Lagrangian in a similar way to those for Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and also Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). Starting with the Dirac Lagrangian, when a Local Gauge is applied the resulting Lagrangrian is not invariant under the transformation. The local gauge transformation applied to the Langrangian is dependent on the symmetry, for example for the weak force we use SU(2) symmetry as we want physics invariant under swapping up-like and down-like fermions.
When a Local Gauge Symmetry is applied to the Electroweak Lagrangian it does not remain invariant under the gauge transformation. This can be rectified by the introduction of appropriate fields, which have associated mass-less bosons W1, W2, W3 and B. The SU(2)xU(1) symmetry of the electroweak theory is non-abelian which means that the bosons interact with each other as well as with fermions.
The Electroweak theory needs to end up with three massive bosons (2 charged and 1 neutral) and also a mass-less boson. The Goldstone Theorem provides a mechanism by which the 4 mass-less bosons from the original symmetry can become the four Electroweak bosons described above. The Goldstone theorem states “that for any continuous symmetry broken, there exists a mass-less particle, the Goldstone boson.” The result is that for each broken generator, there is a resulting mass-less scalar boson.
The Higgs mechanism is the process applied to Electroweak theory. A complex doublet Higgs field can be included in the theory and this Higgs field breaks the symmetry of the problem while retaining local gauge invariance. This Higgs field (two complex scalar fields which transform under the SU(2) symmetry) will, via the Goldstone Theorem, result in a scalar Higgs boson and 3 Goldstone bosons which will provide mass. The three Goldstone bosons interact with the original fields to provide mass for the W+, W- and Z bosons while leaving the fourth boson mass-less. This can be seen mathematically by looking at the changed form of the Electroweak Lagrangian due to the introduction of the Higgs fields.
There is a reason to believe that the Higgs Boson discovered is not the garden-variety Higgs that physicists were expecting. It’s relatively low mass may place it in the Supersymmetric regime, and may be humanity’s first probe into Supersymmetry. If the Boson was discovered to be a singlet it would also be the first fundamental singlet ever discovered, sparking new interest in finding the last piece of the singlet, vector, tensor boson puzzle: The Graviton, the force carrier for the gravitational force and the key ingredient in the Theory of Everything, “The Promised Land” of Physics that will explain how General Relativity works with Quantum Theory and will explain how The Universe works in completion.