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What is the Higgs Boson? July 6, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Science.
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Stephen Wolfram has a blog with a nice explanation of the Higgs Boson and why its discovery is important to confirming the Standard Model of the universe:

“Here’s how it basically works. Every type of particle in the Standard Model is associated with waves propagating in a field—just as photons are associated with waves propagating in the electromagnetic field. But for almost all types of particles, the average amplitude value of the underlying field is zero. But for the Higgs field, one imagines something different. One imagines instead that there’s a nonlinear instability that’s built into the mathematical equations that govern it, that leads to a nonzero average value for the field throughout the universe.

And it’s then assumed that all types of particles continually interact with this background field—in such a way as to act so that they have a mass. But what mass? Well, that’s determined by how strongly a particle interacts with the background field. And that in turn is determined by a parameter that one inserts into the model. So to get the observed masses of the particles, one’s just inserting one parameter for each particle, and then arranging it to give the mass of the particle.”

The blog entry goes on a bit longer about his involvement with the various developments in the Standard Model, and is delightful to read (if you are a geek at all).  He also answers the question of whether it is worth $10 billion to find this particle.

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