Higgs boson for dummies!

finally here it comes, here it goes, post about Higgs boson is coming. Lets look what the “god’s particle” is how physicists found it and what it means.


God’s particle

Lets see how Higgs boson was named the god’s particle.

One of the best particle physicists Leon Lederman who found out that there are more types of neutrinos and so on and on. He wrote a book named the “God’s particle”. The book was partially named like this because the publisher did not want it to be named “Damned particle”.

He did this and now all physicists can agree on one thing, they hate this phrase because Higgs boson has nothing to do with God.

While all journalists can agree that “God’s particle” is amazing phrase.

So if you want some physicist to be angry on you, just mention the God particle and he will never forget.

Higgs boson was found 4.7.2012 in Large Hadron Collider.

Higgs field

What is actually more important than Higgs boson, the particle, is the field from which it came, this is the Higgs field. I already talked in last post about fields and how specific vibrations can form particles. Higgs field can do this too and it makes the higgs boson which decay almost immediately and is really hard to detect.

Higgs field is a very different from other fields because other fields can get to 0 energy while Higgs field can not. What is more accurate to say is that non zero value of Higgs field is less energetic than zero so Higgs field does not want to fall on the value of 0.

What does it do?

Well you may have heard about Higgs field giving mass to matter. This is partially true since when particle interacts with Higgs field they are kind of slowed so they do not travel at the speed of light. Some particles interact more than others like some people interact with group of people more than others because they are well known [1].

At one post I wrote about symmetries, check it out if you did not already. There is symmetry in particles. They are all the same.
What? Now this symmetry is broken, this means that there are differences between particles, thanks Higgs field! This is the most important effect of the field with the effect that while it would not change much the mass of protons and neutrons, it would change the mass of electron rapidly if it would not exist. Now the space occupied by particles as electrons is set and such a light particles need to have a lot of space around them. If you would turn off Higgs field completely, things would probably gone exploding a lot since the size of atom would increase as the space around electron needed would get bigger.


[1] This does not mean that all the mass is from Higgs field, most mass of neutron and proton is made up of energy m=E/c^2.





Superconducting Super Collider

so yesterday I was in Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic, because of some serious business. When I was waiting on the train station I went to bookstore there and bought really cool book, it is called The Particle at the End of the Universe, by Sean Carroll (By this particle author means Higgs boson). So, I already read 80 pages and now I want to make post about Superconducting Super Collider or SSC.

This book is about Higgs boson, which is particle I will write about some other time. Anyway it was discovered in Large Hadron Collider but there is whole history of other particle accelerators before this one.
Today lets see why SSC was never build.

Ssc mdl.JPGThe most important thing about particle accelerators is their power they can create. LHC which is the strongest on the Earth right now is able to create force of 13 TeV (tera electron volts.) At the same time this may sound powerful and weak.

1 TeV is around the energy of flying mosquito. Well that does not sound like it is much but the other thing is that LHC is able to make 13 TeV and at the same time give this energy to only one proton. When LHC is active, there may be billions of protons flying with this energy, when you add it up it may be as much as the energy of whole locomotive.

But SSC was planned to be even stronger so that it would be able to reveal even more energetic things. It was planned to be about 40 TeV strong which is quite mind blowing.

In the year of 1987 president Reagan accepted the construction of SSC. Then the place to build it had to be found.
Such a place must be geologically inactive, there must be no floods and so on. Of course all most of the states (43) wanted to have it in their city. Finally place called Waxahachie in Texas was accepted as the most safe one (it is located bit south from Dallas).

It was planned to be 87 kilometers long and activated in the year of 1996. First it was thought that it would cost 4.4 billions of dollars, but soon afterward the price rose to 12 billions of dollars. At the same time huge project needed money: ISS (50 billions of dollars, later it rose to over 100 billions of dollars).

When there were 2 billions already invested, it was decided that it was not worth it. Reasons for this were that it was poorly leaded, with prices that were underestimated all the time and so on.

This had some serious causes, like lots of particle physicists were without work. The area was then sold to guy who wanted to create super protected area for computer data, but he fell on the ice and died. Luckily USA decided that they will donate some money to LHC (particle accelerator in CERN) which was activated in the year of 2008.


1st picture