The Higgs Boson
The Higgs Boson

We know that all matter in the universe has mass. Galaxies, stars, planets, you and me, all have mass. But, why does everything have mass and where does this mass come from?

Brief History

The Higgs boson aka The God Particle is the most recent addition to the Standard Model of Particle Physics. The existence of a field that penetrates all of space and time was predicted by physicist Peter Higgs and five other physicists in 1964. The existence of this particle was confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012 which in turn confirms the existence of the field for which physicist Peter Higgs and Francois Englart won the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics.

What is the Higgs Boson and why was it predicted

We know that the elementary particles form all the matter and forces in the universe. All these particles have very specific masses. If the values of these masses where to be even a tiny bit different, the universe as we see it today would not be possible. That means the laws and the face of the whole universe would be different. In addition to this, physicists were also puzzled due to the existence of particles which were predicted to be massless, but that was not the case. The question was, how do these particles have the masses they have?

To explain the how particles have mass, the Higgs Field was theorized. Particles get their mass when they flow through and interact with the Higgs Field. The Higgs Boson is a particle that is created due to the excitations or fluctuations in the Higgs Field. This particle has a predicted lifespan of about only 10-22 seconds. After this time span, the Higgs Boson has been predicted to decay into the more fundamental and stable particles of the universe (the quarks).

Explaining Inertia

Inertia, which is a property of mass can also be explained by the Higgs Field. Inertia is the resistance to change in state of rest or motion. The more an object interacts with the Higgs field, the more an object has mass and therefore more is its inertia. The Higgs field literally produces a drag like effect on objects. It’s like a fluid which fills the universe. The more the interaction with the field, the greater is the drag for the object.

Mass of the Higgs Boson

Interestingly, the Higgs Boson too has mass – about 125 Giga electron volts (2.2315 x 10-26 kg). Now, the question comes, if the Higgs Boson gives all the matter in the universe their mass, then what gives the Higgs Boson it’s mass? The solution to this is self-interaction. The Higgs Boson interacts with itself to generate its own mass!

There are so many interesting things in the quantum world. It might be correct to say that the quantum world is a whole another universe in itself.

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