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.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.