This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


Hunt for the Higgs explained

By Matin Durrani

With the world’s leading particle physicists meeting in Grenoble right now to discuss the latest results from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the Tevatron machine at Fermilab in the US, I couldn’t resist pointing out a great new video from Fermilab’s Don Lincoln about what the Higgs boson is all about and why it’s interesting.

Rather than launching straight into the nature of the Higgs boson, Lincoln begins quite rightly with the Higgs field – the energy field that permeates the entire universe and interacts with subatomic particles to give them their mass.

In doing so, Lincoln draws a comparison between a barracuda gliding effortlessly through water and Don’s rather rotund buddy “Eddie” who is “no stranger to doughnuts”.

The water serves the role of the Higgs field and the barracuda, “being supremely streamlined”, interacts – like a low-mass particle – only slightly with the field and can glide through it very easily. Eddie, in contrast, moves only very slowly through the water, being like a massive particle that interacts a lot with the water.

In other words, if the Higgs field didn’t exist, then neither the top quark nor the electron, for example, would have any mass at all.

To explain the Higgs boson itself, Lincoln continues his water theme – explaining how just as water is made of individual H2O molecules, so the Higgs field is made up of countless Higgs bosons.

Meanwhile, for the real news from the International Europhysics Conference on High Energy Physics in Grenoble, stay tuned to, where our reporter is prowling the conference halls and lecture rooms for the latest news.

And finally, if you want more on the hunt for the Higgs, don’t forget this great article from Physics World magazine by prolific blogger and CERN particle physicist Tommaso Dorigo or our own video. It’s from March but still well worth watching.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text