On July 4, 2012, physics history was made. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced that scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider have found evidence of a new particle. This particle displays characteristics consistent with the Higgs boson, the only particle in physics’ long-accepted Standard Model that had never been observed. The Higgs boson, in short, is theorized to give other particles mass; without the Higgs boson or a similar mechanism, the equations of the Standard Model would not explain how particles have mass1.
Looking for more information? These Internet resources have up-to-date news and explanations of the Higgs boson:
- Latest update in the search for the Higgs boson: A video of CERN’s official announcement of its results.
- New York Times Topics: Higgs Boson: Collection of New York Times articles about the Higgs Boson, from recent discoveries to editorials on its importance.
- CERN Science: Short articles on the science under examination at CERN, including the Standard Model and the Higgs boson.
- The Higgs Boson Explained: Cartoon explanation of the Higgs boson, how scientists planned to find it, and why it’s taken so long to find.
- CERN: The Higgs Boson Particle: Brief explanation of the properties of the Higgs boson, written for readers without a background in physics.
With the discovery of this new particle, many books on the Higgs boson are now out of date. However, these GSU Library books still provide perspective on why the particle is so important to physicists and how the search has been conducted:
- Close, F. E. (2011). The infinity puzzle: Quantum field theory and the hunt for an orderly universe. New York: Basic Books.
- Plehn, R. (2011). Lectures on LHC physics. Berlin: Springer.
- Oerter, R. (2006). The theory of almost everything: The standard model, the unsung triumph of modern physics. New York: Pi Press.
- Lederman, L. M. & Teresi, D. (1993). The God particle: If the universe is the answer, what is the question? Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (This book gave the Higgs boson the nickname “The God Particle,” often disliked by particle physicists 2.)
There is still much to discover in particle physics–even with the Higgs boson, the Standard Model doesn’t explain gravity2. Nonetheless, this new particle is a giant step in our understanding of the universe.