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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Podcast of Interview About the Higgs at CERN

If you want to listen to an interview from National Public Radio's (NPR) Science Friday, check this out. They talk about the Higgs boson search at CERN with one of the co-spokesman for the CMS experiment, one of the two big collider experiments at CERN looking for the Higgs (and many other things).

Also, here is a neat way to think about what the Higgs field does. It comes from

" The Higgs Mechanism
Imagine a cocktail party of political party workers who are uniformly distributed across the floor, all talking to their nearest neighbours. The ex-Prime- Minister enters and crosses the room. All of the workers in her neighbourhood are strongly attracted to her and cluster round her. As she moves she attracts the people she comes close to, while the ones she has left return to their even spacing. Because of the knot of people always clustered around her she acquires a greater mass than normal, that is, she has more momentum for the same speed of movement across the room. Once moving she is harder to stop, and once stopped she is harder to get moving again because the clustering process has to be restarted. In three dimensions, and with the complications of relativity, this is the Higgs mechanism. In order to give particles mass, a background field is invented which becomes locally distorted whenever a particle moves through it. The distortion - the clustering of the field around the particle - generates the particle's mass. The idea comes directly from the Physics of Solids. Instead of a field spread throughout all space a solid contains a lattice of positively charged crystal atoms. When an electron moves through the lattice the atoms are attracted to it, causing the electron's effective mass to be as much as 40 times bigger than the mass of a free electron. The postulated Higgs field in the vacuum is a sort of hypothetical lattice which fills our Universe. We need it because otherwise we cannot explain why the Z and W particles which carry the Weak Interactions are so heavy while the photon which carries Electromagnetic forces is massless. "
- David Miller

1 comment:

  1. The distortion - the clustering of the field around the particle - generates the particle's mass=)))and travel thanks=)