Higgs Boson

The Higgs Boson sign at Grosse Schanze

The Higgs boson was experimentally discovered in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, with a significant contribution from the University of Bern. With this discovery, one of the most important building block of the Standard Model of particle physics was found.

The Higgs boson has already been predicted in 1964, as part of a theory called the Higgs mechanism. This mechanism introduces a field, the Higgs field, responsible for the Higgs boson and the masses of the elementary particles. The Higgs mechanism is built to allow the so-called “spontaneous symmetry breaking” to occur. This process can be illustrated by the sudden rolling of a ball placed in balance on the tip of a sombrero, down to the brim of the hat. This has two effects: first, it generates a field that permeates throughout the universe and gives elementary particles their mass; secondly, it generates the Higgs boson detected at the LHC.

At the LHC the Higgs boson is created in collisions of highly energetic protons. Since it decays immediately, only its decay products can be observed in a particle detector. In 2013, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Peter Higgs and François Englert for the correct predictions of the Higgs mechanism.

Even today, many questions about the Higgs boson remain unanswered, including the origin of the exact value of its mass.

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