CERN: Higgs Particle in Plain English, and how Stephen Hawking Lost $100 [VIDEO]

By @Len_IBTimes on

CERN is making this year's 4th of July extra historical with a Higgs particle announcement. It seems the Higgs boson has been found.

The Higgs particle, named after the physicist Peter Higgs, has become a hot trending topic on the internet. But what is basically going on with the Higgs boson spotlighting, in plain and simple English?

Non-physicists who wish to understand the enormity of this news may watch these YouTube videos for analogies.

Imagine observing a cocktail party from above...

For those who would rather read Higgs particle analogies, David Miller has a party-themed illustration, simplified by MSN's Cosmic Log. Imagine an aerial view of a cocktail party. Plain folks move across the hall without causing commotion. When A-listers/crowd-drawers show up, they attract attention and people approach for quick hellos. As a result, the motion of these A-listers is not as smooth as the movement of the plain folks. The people affecting the movement of A-listers are like Higgs bosons. For scientists, they have been particularly hard to find.

How Stephen Hawking lost $100 over the Higgs particle

Well-respected and popular astrophysicist Stephen Hawking from the University of Cambridge was asked by BBC's Pallab Ghosh about the importance of finding the Higgs boson. He said such a thing would be worthy of a Nobel Prize.

Hawking said he made a bet with particle physicist Gordon Kane of Michigan University that the Higgs particle wouldn't be found.

"It seems I lost one hundred dollars," he said.

What the Higgs particle doesn't do

Dr Dave Goldberg, a Physics Professor at Drexel University, makes things a bit simpler to understand in his article, "Stop calling it 'The God Particle!'"

Nobel physicist Leon Lederman wrote a book with a draft title "The Goddamn Particle," as an expression of frustration over how difficult it was to find it. Thinking "damn" might be offensive, the book was later published as "The God Particle."

In his article, Dr Goldberg protests the connotation of "god particle," saying that the particle is called Higgs, and should not be confused for anything else.

Without discounting the significance of finding the Higgs particle, he highlighted what it doesn't do. For one, the Higgs particle does not explain how gravity works. It does not shed light to dark matter and dark energy, two of the biggest mysteries in - and also comprise the most of -- the universe.

Relevance of finding the Higgs boson

Finding the Higgs boson would prove the Standard Model of physics, which could result in improved theories and experiments later on. Physicists say that when the electromagnetic field was first discovered, it was not clear right away what man could do with it. Finding the Higgs boson is like that. It is similar to unlocking a complicated treasure chest. The first part is over, but there is no telling right away what treasures have been found and how to use them.

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