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  • richardmitnick 5:25 pm on July 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Higgs prior to the announcements, , , Peter Higgs   

    From Symmetry: “Ten things you may not know about the Higgs boson” 03/01/12 

    Symmetry Mag


    Kathryn Jepsen

    This year [2012], results from the Large Hadron Collider in Europe and the Tevatron in the United States will either prove or refute the existence of the Standard Model Higgs particle, a keystone in theorists’ proposed explanation for the origin of mass. Symmetry looks at little-known facts about the elusive particle.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    1. Peter Higgs’ best-known paper on the new particle was initially rejected.

    But this was a blessing in disguise, since it led Higgs to add a paragraph introducing the now-famous Higgs particle. In 1964, Higgs wrote two papers, each just two pages long, on what is now known as the Higgs field. The journal Physics Letters accepted the first but sent the second back. Yoichiro Nambu, a highly regarded physicist who had reviewed the second paper, suggested Higgs add a section explaining his theory’s physical implications. Higgs added a paragraph predicting that an excitation of the field, like a wave in the ocean, would yield a new particle. He then submitted the revised paper to the competing journal Physical Review Letters, which published it.

    2. The science minister for the United Kingdom once held a national competition to find the best Higgs explanation.

    According to the Higgs model, elementary particles gain mass by interacting with an invisible, omnipresent field. The more a particle interacts with the Higgs field, the more mass it will have. Scientists had such difficulty explaining the Higgs field to the British government that in 1993, UK Science Minister William Waldegrave challenged them to send him their best one-page descriptions. Waldegrave handed out champagne to the winners, who included physicist David Miller of University College London. Miller compared the Higgs field to a crowd of political party workers spread evenly through a room. An anonymous person could move through the crowd unhindered. However, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would attract a lot of attention: Party workers would clump around her, slowing her down, giving her metaphorical “mass.” Creative types have since swapped the characters in the metaphor for Albert Einstein mobbed by fellow scientists or pop stars swarmed by paparazzi.

    3. The Higgs mechanism explains only a small fraction of the mass in the universe.

    Most popular science articles give the Higgs model broad credit for lending mass to everything in the universe. However, the Higgs field gives mass only to elementary particles such as quarks and electrons. Most of the visible universe is made of composite particles such as protons and neutrons, which contain quarks. Just as a loaf of raisin bread weighs more than the sum of its raisins, protons and neutrons get their mass from more than just the quarks inside them. The strong nuclear force that holds those quarks together does most of the mass-giving work.

    4. Higgs was not the only physicist who contributed to the idea of how to give particles mass.

    At least a dozen theorists played some part in developing the theoretical framework that led to the Higgs particle. In 2010, the American Physical Society awarded the J.J. Sakurai Prize to six physicists who had published papers on the topic in 1964. But other theorists came up with similar ideas, and earlier publications helped pave the way. The size of this crowd may trouble a certain Swedish committee, as the annual Nobel Prize for physics can be awarded to three living scientists at most.

    5. The term “boson” comes from the name of Indian physicist and mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose.

    Particles come in two varieties: bosons and fermions. The Higgs particle falls into the category of bosons, named for a physicist best known for his collaborations in the 1920s with Albert Einstein. Some of the pair’s work resulted in the invention of Bose-Einstein statistics, a way to describe the behavior of a class of particles that now shares Bose’s name. Two bosons with identical properties can be in the same place at the same time, but two fermions cannot. This is why photons, which are bosons, can travel together in concentrated laser beams. But electrons, which are fermions, must stay away from each other, which explains why electrons must reside in separate orbits in atoms. Bose never received a doctorate, nor was he awarded a Nobel Prize for his work, though the Nobel committee recognized other scientists for research related to the concepts he developed.

    6. The nickname “God particle” originated from a book by Nobel laureate Leon Lederman.


    Physicist Leon Lederman unwittingly gave the Higgs boson what may be its most-disliked descriptor with the title of his book, The God Particle. Lederman likes to joke that he actually wanted to call the Higgs boson the “goddamn particle” because it’s so darned difficult to find. The nickname makes for attention-grabbing headlines, but it also makes most particle physicists cringe.

    7. Standard particle theory will be incomplete even if the Higgs particle is discovered.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles today (2017) (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    The Higgs boson is the last undiscovered particle predicted by the Standard Model, a beautiful mathematical framework physicists use to describe the smallest bits of matter and how they interact. Experimental results have time and again validated the model’s other predictions. But finding the Higgs boson would not close the book on particle physics. While the Standard Model accounts for fundamental forces such as electromagnetism and the strong nuclear force, it cannot make sense of gravity, which is disproportionately weak compared to the other forces. One possible explanation is that we experience only a fraction of the force of gravity because most of it acts in hidden extra dimensions.

    8. If the Higgs particle exists, it may have relatives.

    Many theorists have tried to explain the known particles and their masses without a Higgs boson, but no one has yet come up with a successful model. In fact, a popular theory known as supersymmetry predicts at least five Higgs particles, and others predict many more.

    Standard model of Supersymmetry DESY

    It is up to experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe and at the Tevatron collider in the United States – where experiments have concluded, but data are still being analyzed – to discover whether the Higgs boson exists and, if so, whether it is the particle we expected.

    FNAL Tevatron

    FNAL/Tevatron map

    FNAL/Tevatron DZero detector

    FNAL/Tevatron CDF detector


    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    9. Scientists may have first glimpsed the Higgs boson more than a decade ago.

    In 2000, CERN’s flagship accelerator, the Large Electron Positron Collider, was scheduled to close after 11 years of successful operation when something curious happened.


    CERN LEP Collider

    The LEP experiments began to find signs of something that looked rather like the Higgs particle with a mass around 115 GeV/c^2, about the mass of an iodine atom. Excited scientists convinced CERN management to keep LEP running for six weeks beyond the original shut-down date to see if the observation would grow more convincing with additional data. During the machine’s stay of execution, even more candidate Higgs events appeared. Physicists requested a second extension to see if their observation might blossom into a discovery, but the machine was dismantled to make way for a higher-energy Higgs hunter, the LHC. The latest LHC results, made public in December 2011, indicate that the Higgs particle, if it exists, must have a mass between 115-130 GeV/c^2. The ATLAS [result above] and CMS [result above] experiments reported intriguing hints of a Higgs boson with a mass in the region of 124-126 GeV

    10. Finding the new particle would be only the beginning.

    Just because something looks like the Higgs particle does not mean it is the Higgs particle. If physicists do discover a new particle, they will need to measure its numerous properties before they can determine whether it is the Higgs boson described by the Standard Model of particle physics. Theory predicts in great detail how a Standard Model Higgs particle would interact with other particles. Only after carefully measuring and testing these interactions — like a biologist examining the genetic makeup of a new plant species — would scientists be certain that they had indeed found the Standard Model Higgs boson. A new particle that did not act as expected would give physicists a whole new set of mysteries to explore.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 7:18 am on July 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Peter Higgs, The God Particle   

    From FNAL: “Professor Higgs’ particle” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    June 30, 2017
    Mike Albrow

    François Englert (left) and Peter Higgs speak to conference attendees at CERN on July 4, 2012, on the occasion of the announcement of the discovery of a Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiments. Photo: Maximilien Brice/CERN

    If it wasn’t for this particle, you wouldn’t exist. [A bit nasty.]

    CERN CMS Higgs Event

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    Even though the auditorium at CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland was packed, you could have heard a pin drop as Fabiola Gianotti, leader of a 3,000-physicist multinational team, made a dramatic pause before her final slide.

    Halfway around the world in Australia, at a major physics conference, proceedings were put on hold to watch a live video of her talk, and that of the other team, using the biggest, most complex machine ever built — the Large Hadron Collider.


    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    At Fermilab in Batavia, excited physicists crammed into a room surrounded by computer screens, even though it was before dawn on the Fourth of July in 2012. After both talks, the CERN director general announced to great applause, “I think we’ve got it”.

    Fermilab Wilson Hall

    But what is “it”? And why is “it” so important? It is called the “Higgs boson” or just “the Higgs.”

    Eighty-four-year-old Professor Higgs had come from Edinburgh, Scotland, to CERN for the occasion and was teary-eyed. “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime,” he said quietly.

    Jump up and down to feel the pull of gravity, and play with a magnet to feel it pulling things without contact. The strength and direction of these pulls is described by what physicists call “fields”: gravitational field or magnetic field, for example.

    Fifty years ago physicists, pondering how particles get mass, had suggested that there is another field, but one with no direction and the same value everywhere throughout the universe. It is just there. If this field were not there, every electron in every atom would have no mass and would shoot off at the speed of light. No more atoms, no you.

    Dr. Higgs said, “If that field exists, there should be a particle that goes with it,” just as the electromagnetic field, light, has a particle, the photon. The Higgs particle is heavier than a silver atom but trillions of times smaller. Perhaps it has no size at all! It disintegrates to lighter particles immediately and has no practical applications, so what’s the big deal?

    At last we know how all electrons, in you, in stars and galaxies, get mass as they plow through the Higgs field.

    I have no room to explain, but Leon Lederman, past director of Fermilab, wrote a book about it called “The God Particle.” We physicists ragged him about the title, but it was good marketing!

    Leon M. Lederman Nobel laureate, Director of FNAL after R.R. Wilson


    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon
    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 12:48 pm on March 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Peter Higgs   

    From CERN: “Edinburgh Medal honours Higgs and CERN” 

    CERN New Masthead

    March 26, 2013
    Marina Giampietro

    CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer accepts an Edinburgh Medal on behalf of CERN at a ceremony on Saturday. Also honoured was Peter Higgs (right) (Image: Joshua Smythe)

    “In a ceremony on 24 March, the 2013 Edinburgh Medal was awarded to Peter Higgs and CERN. The Director-General received the medal on behalf of CERN [See video].

    The Edinburgh Medal, now in its 25th year, is awarded by the Edinburgh International Science Festival to scientists whose achievements have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.

    The first Edinburgh Medal was awarded to Abdus Salam who received the Nobel prize in physics for theoretical work that became a fundamental part of the Standard Model of particles and forces. Salam’s work incorporated what is now known as the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, which gives mass to elementary particles. The mechanism introduced a new field, which like all fundamental fields has an associated particle, in this case called the Higgs boson.

    This year the award comes full circle, being awarded to Higgs and to CERN, where the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider tracked down a particle last summer that look increasingly like a Higgs boson.

    And now, a neat video of the awards.

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier




    CERN CMS New

    CERN LHCb New


    CERN LHC New

    LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

  • richardmitnick 1:12 am on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Peter Higgs   

    From The BBC: “Prof Peter Higgs: Prize honours Large Hadron Collider scientist” 

    BBC News Scotland

    The scientist who gave his name to the Higgs boson hopes a prize named in his honour will inspire a new generation of physics geniuses.

    First Minister Alex Salmond has announced an annual prize, named after Prof Peter Higgs, for school students.

    Prof Peter Higgs standing beside the Large Hadron Collider

    Prof Higgs said: ‘I hope that this will inspire young students of today…Rewarding those who have excelled in physics in this way and supporting the next generation of scientists is to be warmly welcomed.’

    The Higgs Prize, open to Scottish school students who excel in physics, will be formally launched by the First Minister and the scientist on Tuesday.
    It is part of a week designed to showcase Scotland’s scientific expertise, with Mr Salmond also expected to make a significant announcement about life sciences and mark a landmark in space science.

    Prof Higgs hit upon his defining concept during a walk in the Cairngorms in 1964, when he started to consider the existence of a particle that gives matter its mass.

    Visitors can walk through a full-size replica of a section of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel. He wrote two scientific papers on his theory and was eventually published in the Physical Review Letters journal, sparking a 40-year hunt for the Higgs boson. In July, a team from the European nuclear research facility at CERN, Geneva, announced the detection of a particle that fitted the description of the elusive Higgs.”

    See the full article here.

    • John Jaksich 11:43 am on February 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Very nice. This type of incentive is definitely needed in today’s economy.


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