At scales where nothing can see, the best science is done by colliding particles at near lightspeed and picking up as many “pieces” as possible. We know of six quarks (which combine to make baryons, protons, and neutrons), six leptons (which include electrons and neutrinos), and four gauge bosons (which carry or exchange the fundamental forces of the universe). Not to mention antimatter and color charge, the last piece of the Standard Model puzzle is the Higgs boson. On Dynamics of Cats, Steinn Sigurðsson calls the Higgs “quintessentially a scalar field – there is no charge, colour, flavour or any other internal quantum number stuck on it.” Greg Laden describes it as a “wobbly gobbly everywherish gooblygop,” bits of which we are trying tear from space-time. Ethan Siegel says “the Higgs field gives mass to all the particles that couple to the Higgs field, including the Higgs boson itself!” The new particle was measured at around 126 GeV to statistical satisfaction—although it never lasted long enough to get a good look at. It’s a major discovery—but Steinn Sigurðsson says “there has to be something more to it – and if all the remaining action is up at the Planck scale, we are stuck.” The Standard Model is not a theory of everything—but it’s a theory of a lot, and it’s finally complete.
- Higgsapalooza on Dynamics of Cats
- Higgs Boson Makes Me Laugh on Greg Laden’s Blog
- How the Higgs gives Mass to the Universe on Starts With a Bang!
- Now that we’ve got the Higgs, what’s next? on Starts With a Bang!