Inside “Higgs Boson” not “God Particle”

Nasa approved cartoon.

Karnataka’s ever experienced heated political drama was seen in the month of June 2012.  High Command of BJP created a history by electing Jagadish Shetter, the 21st Chief Mister of Karnataka.  Believe it or not he was the 3rd Chief Minister from BJP party, within 4 years of ruling.  Still one more year to go, we don’t know how many people will become CM from BJP!  This became the heated discussion all over the country, and all print and visual media were focusing this drama throughout the day.  Likewise the same kind of heated discussion was found near the CERN laboratory which is in Switzerland.  But they were not politician instead they were physicist.  Finally they burst out on July 04 2012, and declared the world that “God Particle” (Higs Boson particle) was discovered in CERN laboratory.  It became the head line and top story in almost all print and visual media throughout the world!  And even in India, overtaking Karnataka’s political drama.

The question is what is God Particle or Higgs Boson and how it came?  How can we detect them?  Why it is so important for Physicist?   Does this explain everything?

Before telling anything about this, let me make clear to you, “God Particle” is nothing to do with “GOD”! This was a nickname given by Nobel Prize winner Leo Lederman who wrote a book called “The God Particle” on Higgs Boson.  I feel it’s good to stop calling this particle as God Particle as it creates a misunderstanding in common public.  We will call as “Higgs Boson Particle”.

What is Higgs Boson?

There is something called “Standard Model” in particle physics, it is a theory which include Electromagnetic, weak and strong interaction.  This Standard Model contains 17 fundamental particle of which 12 fermions spin 1/2 and 4 bosons of spin 1 and Higgs Boson of spin 0 (zero) particle.  These particles are the building blocks of matter (Fermions) or the carriers of force (Bosons).  They explain everything but it falls short in explaining Gravity and its interaction as well as Dark Energy model of Universe.  But still this model finds application in Astrophysics.  Btw the Higgs Boson’s are one of the fundamental particle of 17 particles in the Standard Model.  This was a missing particle in the Standard Model; theoretically this particle was predicted by Peter Higgs in 1964 in his papers which was only two pages!!

So, according to Higgs, Higgs particle was a Boson, it does not have spin, charge, color charge and decays immediately.  And this is the fundamental particle which gives size, shape and mass to the matter present in universe.

How can we detect them?

As this particle is a fundamental particle, generally they arises in the interaction or the collision of other particles, we need to create such an atmosphere to detect them.  What scientist did was, they collided two proton beams, which were travelling in opposite direction at the speed almost equal to speed of light.  During this collision, enormous amount of energy is released and many subatomic particles will be formed in a very short time.  By comparing their decay paths to the theoretical decay paths predicted by super computers, it is possible to detect these particles.

This very expensive experiment was carried out in CERN laboratory, which houses 27km particle accelerator tunnel.  In which they accelerate proton to a very high speed and make a collision! And they record the data.  This is one of the largest Physics Experiment ever carried out in the history!

Why it is so important for physicist?

Well as I already said, this is the particle which gives the size, shape and mass to the matter in universe.  Let me explain how it gives mass to the matter…

Now listen, you know there is invisible Electric Field due to a Charge. That is electric field of a positive charge applies a force on the test charge when it is kept in the vicinity of positive charge.  Likewise there is an invisible Higgs Field due to a Higgs Particle which pervades the entire Universe.  And this Higgs Field is constant throughout the universe.  All the matter in the universe should stay or move inside the Higgs Field.  For example if a stone is moving, then stone feels the drag of Higgs field, that is Higgs field interacts with stone.  The interaction depends on the material the stone is made of.  And this interaction of Higgs Field with the stone is actually measured as mass of stone! If interaction is more, then matter has more mass, if interaction is less, then matter has less mass!!  As Higgs Field is present everywhere, and it is constant, the mass of a particular object does not change!  It is constant throughout the universe (Except for Special Theory of Relativity).

That is why it said, the invisible field (Higgs Field) created by Higgs Boson Particle lying across the universe gives particles their mass.  These mass particles clump together to form matter, planets, stars and galaxies!!

Does Higgs Particle explain everything?

The direct answer to this question is no.  Because, physicist had declared that it is not Higgs Particle which is discovered, it is the Higgs like particle, which shows the behavior of Higgs particle.  But near in future this can became the true Higgs Particle, let’s wait and see…

But the point is, Even this theory fails to explain many things and even some of known things.

  • It does not give any clue on the mass of Higgs Particle itself.  Some scientist argues that it is mass less particle, but some say it has very negligible mass. But still it is uncertain.
  • Higgs field interaction does not explain the mass of basic elementary particle such as electron, meon and toun particls.
  • Out of 100%, only 5% is visible matter, remaining all other matter is Dark Matter.  This theory does not explain anything about Dark Matter.
  • It does not say anything about the Gravity, which is of infinite range and Gravitational Interaction.

And the list continues… over all, this is not the ultimate theory, there is lot more things to do in Particle Physics. And still research is going on…

I believe our understanding of universe continues… it never stops in any theory.

Indian Connection

Well, I must say this; the Higgs Particle was given the name as “Higgs Boson”. First word is the name of the scientist Peter Higgs who proposed the theory.  And the second word is the name of Indian Scientist Satyendranath Bose.  He was responsible for the Bose-Einstein statistics which governs the Boson particles.  As Higgs Particles are Bosons, they named as Higgs Boson!


-Viswa Keerthy S, 10-08-2012.

Some links






*All the images are copyrighted.


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