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Why Look for the Higgs Boson?


One possible signature of a Higgs boson from a simulated proton-proton collision. It decays almost immediately into two jets of hadrons and two electrons, visible as lines. The proton beams would enter the picture from the east-southeast and west-northwest. Image from Wiki

Good morning everyone.

Particle physics is a rather complicated affair and uses a host of specialized terms and concepts that the majority of people aren’t familiar with, and I find them difficult to explain succinctly in the handful of words that I’m allotted here, or without glazing over the eyes of the casual reader. I run into the same problem when attempting to explain the functioning of the valve body in an automatic transmission without using terms like “eldritch devices spawned by ancient squelching horrors from another dimension” or “well guv, it’s bloody voodoo, innit?”. It’s tough.

The other day however, I came across a short video over on Gizmodo that I was unable to watch because it’s a Vimeo video, and Vimeo videos won’t play for me on Gizmodo for some reason, and I find it quite annoying that I have to go to the Vimeo site (nothing against Vimeo, mind you) to watch them rather than just watch them where I’m already at. They work everywhere else, so why not on Giz or the rest of that lot? Could it be from weird site design decisions? Perish forbid. Bloody pain in the butt is what it is, but what can you do? Complain? Hmph. Join Facebook just to login? Oh please, can I? Bah!

Ahem. Where was I…video? What video? Oh yes, that video. I found a video called “The Higgs Boson Explained” which was made by Phd Comics, whoever they are, and I was immediately intrigued. I’d been having such a fun time with the topic, I wanted to see how these guys do explaining the subject to the drooling knuckledraggers, mechanical engineers (same thing, really), and iFone addicts in the audience. Yes indeed, ho ho, it should be entertaining.

The answer is “quite effective, in about eight minutes” as it turns out. Sigh. The video is after the jump.

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