Not understanding what’s cool about the new boson? Try this video

This video from MinutePhysics (“cool physics and other sweet science”) might shed light for you on this week’s announcement of a new boson, possibly the Higgs boson.

On July 4, 2012, scientists at CERN announced that experiments with the Large Hadron Collider had revealed an elementary particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs boson. They’re not entirely sure it is the Higgs, although everyone seems to agree it is a boson. What’s a boson? As a good article in New Scientist explains it this way:

There are only two types of elementary particle in the standard model: fermions, which include electrons, quarks and neutrinos, and bosons, which include photons and the W and Z bosons.

If you’re lost already, but want to know more, the video below from the folks at MinutePhysics (whose motto is “cool physics and other sweet science”) might shed some light on what’s cool about the Higgs boson, and why scientists are so intent on finding it. This is just Part 1, by the way. Parts 2 and 3 are coming.

CERN’s original press release announcing what they found

History of search for the Higgs

This isn’t the actual data from the work announced on July 4, but it is one possible signature of a Higgs boson from a simulated proton–proton collision in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. This boson decays almost immediately into two jets of hadrons and two electrons, visible as lines. According to CERN on July 4, 2012, the boson they have observed is consistent with the Higgs, but as of July 2012, scientists have not conclusively identified it as the Higgs boson. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Deborah Byrd

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