• Question: why are we looking for the higgs boson particle and what will happen if we discover it?

    Asked by conn96 to Alan, Caspar, Diana, Murray, Sarah on 17 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Alan Winfield

      Alan Winfield answered on 16 Mar 2011:


      I’m really not sure exactly why scientists are looking for the Higgs Boson. My understanding is that they have a mathematical model of how all the quantum particles work and fit together – but something is missing and that – I think – is the Higgs Boson. So I think they are looking to try and confirm a theoretical prediction. However, it’s a *very* expensive way to confirm a theoretical prediction;)

    • Photo: Caspar Addyman

      Caspar Addyman answered on 16 Mar 2011:


      The higgs Boson is the final piece of the jigsaw of quantum mechanics. Almost all physicists believe it exists but no-one knows quite sure how heavy it is. The heavier it is the more energy you need to make one in a super-collider. The best guess is that it is the Large Hadron Collider will have enough energy to make a Higgs.

      Once they know for definite that they have discovered it. then they will know its exact energy/mass and then there will be lots of new questions to answer about why it has the mass that it has. To answer that question physics has to go beyond quantum mechanics and into string theory.

      The eventual discovery of the HIggs Boson will also probably mean that Peter Higgs (who is British) will finally get a Nobel Prize.

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 17 Mar 2011:


      The Higgs Boson Particle is a huge elementary particle which is predicts to exist by particle physicists. It is believed that the Higgs Boson gives all other particle their mass and without Higgs Bosons, gravity won’t work. These physicists have lots of unsolved equations and unrevolved inconsistencies in their experiments and they believe that the Higgs Boson will solve all their problems.

      Using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, they are trying to make a Higgs Boson particle. What will happen if we find it…? Well, some say that it will tell us about the big bang and the origins of our universe, some say it will solve all mysteries of matter, give us clues about how to detect dark matter (which is thought to comprise about a quarter of the universe‚Äôs mass, but made out of a kind of particle that has so far proven impossible to detect). Others say it can be used to measure other dimensions, create a black hole, an atomic bomb, and finally, a TIME MACHINE.

      Yes, people say that the Higgs Boson will help us build a time machine, and some people believe that all the problems there have been with the large hadron collider are because someone has been going back in time, to our time, and then trying to sabotage it…

      It all sounds a little like science fiction to me!

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