By Matin Durrani
How well would you do if someone asked you to explain the Higgs boson or the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN?
If you’re a physicist, you’ll probably find it hard enough. But if you’ve never done any physics in your life, things must surely be trickier still, more so if a film crew from Physics World has shoved a camera up your nose.
These two short videos show the results of a straw poll of randomly selected visitors at last summer’s Bristol International Balloon Fiesta when we asked them to describe the Higgs boson and the LHC.
The reason we were at the fiesta is that we were making a separate film about a project by Bristol University physicist Dave Cussans where school students were measuring cosmic rays during a hot-air balloon flight – it being the centenary of Victor Hess’s discovery of these rays in a balloon flight in central Europe.
Take a look at the videos and you’ll see just how much the search for the Higgs has entered the public consciousness. Some of the people do a pretty good job, although there are one or two total blanks. Both videos end with a “proper” explanation by Bristol University’s Joel Goldstein, who was also on hand at the fiesta.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out some more of our Higgs coverage, which includes a great feature by Tommaso Dorigo on what CERN physicists actually do, a look back by Michael Riordan at the long quest for the Higgs boson, and an audio interview with Peter Higgs himself from when he visited Physics World‘s offices last year.