Physicists announced Wednesday that strong evidence has been found for the Higgs boson particle — a critical piece of the picture physicists have of the subatomic realm. The news was so exciting that some physicists in America stayed up into the early hours of Wednesday morning to find out the results of the latest tests in a live stream from Europe.
Just what is the Higgs boson particle? Well… it’s complicated. Technically, it breaks electroweak symmetry, which is one of the ways that subatomic particles such as protons and neutrons gain mass. The Higgs boson helps differentiate those fundamental particles. PHD Comics managed to explain the issue in somewhat clear terms:
But what does it mean for scientists? How will it affect the future of particle physics? What questions do you have for a particle physicist studying the Higgs boson?
- Graham Kribs: Associate professor of physics at the University of Oregon