The Dark Matter


The announcement by CERN on 4 July this year was a very significant one. Not just for the understandably excited scientific community, but for the world as a whole. The announcement acknowledged the discovery of a new particle which resembles the elusive Higgs Boson – a fundamental particle which is speculated to hold answers for the origin of universe and its current state, apart from answering many other questions of particle physics.

The Higgs Boson has generated tremendous interest lately. Over the past two years, it has been at the centre of media frenzy, being touted as the God particle, generating significant TRPs just by that name itself. Certain terms like “Boson”, Large Hadron Collider, “particle accelerator” etc. have made their way into animated coffee-table discussions. All this excitement merits a look into what the whole Large Hadron Collider experiment is all about and the significance of the Higgs’ Boson, which has become the “celebrity” particle of sort.

The Higgs Boson is thought to be the key to the completion of the Standard Model theory of particle physics (branch of physics dealing with interaction of fundamental particles like protons, neutrons etc.). The theory has held sway over laws of physics for the past 35 years and is loosely called “the theory of everything”. The much sought after Higgs Boson is considered to be the final puzzle of the jigsaw which would answer many questions about the nature of life and universe itself.

The biggest question that the Higgs Boson is speculated to hold the answer to is about how matter acquires mass. Physicists theorize that it’s the interaction with this particular entity that gives the property of mass to all matter. As per theory, the Higgs field, which is present even in otherwise empty space, interacts with particles to give them mass. The Higgs Boson drifts in the field and depending on how it interacts with different fundamental particles, they acquire mass. Particles like photons (light particles) are not at all affected by this field and hence carry zero mass. The nature of interaction differs with different particles.

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Keywords :
physics , particle


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