If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that CERN has recently found evidence of the existence of the theoretical Higgs field. Why is this soooo darned important? Well, we can observe how the world works around us, but the question of why it works the way it does requires us to take a closer look. Over the centuries we have discovered that matter is made up of a combination of various atoms. All atoms are made up of three basic components: Electrons, Neutrons, and Protons. We have also observed atoms give off energy in the form of another particle called protons.
For some reason, some of these properties exhibit the property of mass. Protons, for example, have a very measurable amount of mass. They weigh something. They attract other particles with mass by greating a gravity field around themselves. Clump enough of them together (like a planet) and you got yourself a very strong gravity field. But what gives these particles mass? Why do some have mass and some (like photons) don’t?
In 1964 Peter Higgs proposed the presence of a field that exists throughout the universe which some particles interact with and some do not. This was called, “The Higgs Field”. Scientists set out to find out if it existed. The LHC was an esssential tool in that search. Keep an eye on Plain English for an upcoming article on this.
A few news articles about CERN finding the Higgs
BBC Announcing the great find: