What Is the Higgs Boson? Trapping The God Particle
*What is the God particle?
*When was the light that exists in our universe born?
*How and when was matter born?
Follow us, and we’ll tell you the story of the universe, matter, and energy that we find in the cosmos!
In previous videos on dark matter, dark energy, and cosmic background radiation we’ ve seen that 95% of the universe is made up of entities that scientists have called “dark”: these are forms of matter and energy that we can’t detect or measure in the current state of knowledge.
We only know that they exist thanks to the indirect effect that they produce in the universe. These entities are dark matter and dark energy.
Nowadays we can find ordinary energy either in the form of pure energy like light or electromagnetic radiation in general, either in the form of matter, living matter like mankind, animals, plants, or “inanimate” objects. In physics ordinary matter is called mass and is made up of the particles that we all know: protons, neutrons, electrons. Mass is a form of energy as well, in accordance with Einstein’s famous law E=MC^2.
Today mass and energy are distinct but there was a time, at the dawn of the universe, when temperature and density were so high that matter and radiation were trapped within a “primordial broth”, fused together, almost indistinguishable, in magma at thermodynamic equilibrium in which the transformation of matter in energy and the energy in matter continuously took place.
That was the time of the early universe, when the most interesting and mysterious happenings occured: the birth of matter and of fundamental particles and forces that dominate the universe, the disappearance of antimatter in favor of matter, the birth of light and many others.
In the video on cosmic background radiation we’ve seen how, by going back in time, we can go back to the time when the light was born: this is the era of “decoupling”, in which the radiation was freed from the trap of matter and no longer held, could roam freely through the universe and come down to us today.
That moment occurred about 370ky after the Big Bang, or, according to current estimates. On the age of the universe, about 13,789,630,000 years ago.
We’re not allowed to “peek” beyond the period of “decoupling”, ‘cause electromagnetic radiation as said, was trapped in that “primordial broth” and had no way to escape.
Brout-Englert-Higgs theory changed the idea of mass: mass becomes a secondary property of the particle, no longer closely linked to the matter, but rather to its interaction with the vacuum. Since the vacuum is not actually empty but is permeated by quantum fields, the Higgs field interacts with particles and can give them mass. It’s counter-intuitive but void does not indeed exist, it is not empty at all, it is a kind of prologue of matter. The vacuum virtually holds all the particles that don’t have enough energy to appear, but providing the right energy, under certain conditions, it may exhibit stunning properties.
A fundamental part of the theory was the presence of a specific particle: the Higgs boson. A boson that would allow the Higgs mechanism to unfold correctly and thus give mass to all other particles.
For this reason in mainstream media, Higgs boson has often been called the “God particle” from the 1993 book “The God Particle” by Leon Lederman, although the nickname is strongly disliked by many physicists, including Higgs himself, who regard it disrespectful towards believers.
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