What is the Higgs boson?

In 1964, physicist Peter Higgs proposed a mechanism of production of particles within the framework of particle physics. According to him and other physicists, the forces and properties between elementary particles are accounted for by the so-called Standard Model, a framework established to understand almost everything in the universe as we know it. In the Standard Model, the basic forces in nature arise from properties called symmetries and gauge invariance and are transmitted by particles referred to as gauge bosons.

According to this model, the Higgs particle is a boson without an electric or color charge. It is very unstable as a result, decaying into other particles at the speed of light. The scalar Higgs field, which has two electrically charged and two neutral components that form a complex doublet, has a nonzero value in its ground state. Below a very high energy, it causes the electroweak interaction’s isospin symmetry to break.

When this happens, three Higgs field components are absorbed by the SU(2) and U(1) gauge bosons to form the longitudinal components of the weak force’s now-massive W and Z bosons.  The remaining electrically neutral component may either couple separately to fermions, causing them to acquire mass as well, or manifest as a Higgs particle.

The Higgs boson is created by the quantum excitation of the Higgs field. Its existence was proposed by Higgs, but confirmed by the CMS and ATLAS collaborations based on collisions at CERN.

Along with fellow physicist Francois Englert, Peter Higgs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on December 10, 2013 for this theoretical prediction. Several researchers independently developed different parts of the theory in the 1960s even though Higgs’s name has become associated with it.

Mainstream media call the Higgs boson “God particle” because of its profound importance.

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