It's like tryng to push your car off the road...
- July 4, 2012 - 8:40 PM
The idea of the Higgs particle was proposed nearly 50 years ago. It was discussed almost as a curiosity, to get around some inconsistencies between predictions and theory at the time in particle physics, that if an otherwise invisible background field exists, permeating empty space throughout the universe, then elementary particles can interact with this field.
Even if they initially have no mass, they will encounter resistance to their motion through their interactions with this field, and they will slow down. They will then act like they have mass. It is like trying to push your car off the road if it has run out of gas. You and a friend can roll it along as long as it is on the road, but once it goes off and the wheels encounter mud, you and a whole gang of friends who may have been sitting in the back seat cannot get it moving. The car acts heavier.
But what about the invisible field? It turns out that in particle physics, for every field in nature, like the electromagnetic field, there must exist an elementary particle that can be produced if one has sufficient energy to create it. So, the background field, known as a Higgs field, must be associated with a Higgs particle. SLATE
© 2013 Star Tribune