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Gods tiny particles

The physics world and the German press were exited with early reports that the elusive “God particle” had been detected at CERN’s during  their LHC experiments. Accidentally CERNs  technician put an internal video in youtube without GEMA permission. I may believe CERN cannot control Gods tiny HIGGS particles, but  their own web? Long live wikileaks.

The so-called Higgs Boson was predicted 40 years ago by British physicist Peter Higgs. It it is required in the Standard Model to give a mass to all other elementary particles by interacting with the Higgs field that permeates all space.

In the 30s of last century it was “secured” knowledge that electron, proton and neutron are indivisible building blocks of matter. The development of quantum theory, however, allowed a more detailed description of the atomic structure. Into Quarks and Leptons (e.g. Electrons) which are  indeed elementary and  the composite Hadrons (e.g, protons and neutrons) made of further building blocks i.e. quarks. Furthermore more elementary particles were discovered. The  so-called Standard Model of particle physics  is based on three basic components: three families of particles (Fermions,Bosons,Hadrons), four forces(gravity, electromagnetic, weak/strong force) and mass.

Each elementary particle family has a special task: from the Fermions, which are Quarks  and Leptons, the matter is built up and the so-called Bosons transmit forces. The Higgs boson is responsible for ensuring that their elementary (slow) mass obtained. Each of these fundamental particles is an essential element of our nature, the world does not exist without either or would be but were in a very exotic state .

In the family of Leptons, we find our familiar electron; the  Hadron (built by Quarks) family contains the familar Proton and the Neutron. The HIGGS particle is in the esoteric Boson Gauge family.

In the standard model, at temperatures high enough (Big Bang)  all (elementary) particles are massless, below a critical point condensation the W and Z bosons acquire masses by ElectroWeak Symmetry Breaking.

u · u · d · d · c · c · s · s · t · t · b · b
e− · e+ · μ− · μ+ · τ− · τ+ · ν
e · ν
e · ν
μ · ν
μ · ν
τ · ν

γ · g · W± · Z
Baryons / Hyperion’s
N (p · n) · Δ · Λ · Σ · Ξ · Ω
Mesons / Quarkonia
π · ρ · η · η′ · φ · ω · J/ψ · ϒ · θ · K · B · D · T

Fermions, such as the leptons and quarks in the Standard Model, can also acquire mass as a result of their interaction with the Higgs field, but not in the same way as the gauge bosons.

The new discovery is 4.9 sigma probability – 0.1 below  accepted scientific certainty. So far, the 125,3 +/- 0,6 GeV is press sensation and publish or perish (first).

1. The Higgs Mechanism

Imagine a cocktail party of political party workers who are uniformly distributed across the floor, all talking to their nearest neighbours. Margret Thatcher  enters and crosses the room. All of the workers in her neighbourhood are strongly attracted to her and cluster round her. As she moves she attracts the people she comes close to, while the ones she has left return to their even spacing. Because of the knot of people always clustered around her she acquires a greater mass than normal, that is, she has more momentum for the same speed of movement across the room. Once moving she is harder to stop, and once stopped she is harder to get moving again because the clustering process has to be restarted. In three dimensions, and with the complications of relativity, this is the Higgs mechanism. In order to give particles mass, a background field is invented which becomes locally distorted whenever a particle moves through it. The distortion – the clustering of the field around the particle – generates the particle’s mass. The idea comes directly from the Physics of Solids. Instead of a field spread throughout all space a solid contains a lattice of positively charged crystal atoms. When an electron moves through the lattice the atoms are attracted to it, causing the electron’s effective mass to be as much as 40 times bigger than the mass of a free electron. The postulated Higgs field in the vacuum is a sort of hypothetical lattice which fills our Universe. We need it because otherwise we cannot explain why the Z and W particles which carry the Weak Interactions are so heavy while the photon which carries Electromagnetic forces is massless.

2. The Higgs Boson.

Now consider a rumour passing through our room full of uniformly spread political workers. Those near the door hear of it first and cluster together to get the details, then they turn and move closer to their next neighbours who want to know about it too. A wave of clustering passes through the room. It may spread out to all the corners, or it may form a compact bunch which carries the news along a line of workers from the door to some dignitary at the other side of the room. Since the information is carried by clusters of people, and since it was clustering which gave extra mass to the ex-Prime Minister, then the rumour-carrying clusters also have mass. The Higgs boson is predicted to be just such a clustering in the Higgs field. We will find it much easier to believe that the field exists, and that the mechanism for giving other particles mass is true, if we actually see the Higgs particle itself. Again, there are analogies in the Physics of Solids. A crystal lattice can carry waves of clustering without needing an electron to move and attract the atoms. These waves can behave as if they are particles. They are called phonons, and they too are bosons. There could be a Higgs mechanism, and a Higgs field throughout our Universe, without there being a Higgs boson. The next generation of colliders will sort this out.

from David J. Miller, Physics and Astronomy, University College London.

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