PETER HIGGS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     10th April 2024        

Context: Nobel prize-winning physicist Peter Higgs, who proposed the existence of the so-called “god particle” that helped explain how matter formed after the Big Bang, has died at age 94.

Peter Higgs

  • About: He was a British theoretical physicist, professor at the University of Edinburgh, and Nobel laureate in Physics for his work on the mass of subatomic particles.
  • Born: 29 May 1929 
  • Proposal of the Higgs Mechanism: In the 1960s, Higgs proposed that broken symmetry in electroweak theory could explain the origin of mass of elementary particles in general and of the W and Z bosons in particular.
  • Prediction of the Higgs Boson: Higgs predicted the existence of a new particle — the so-called Higgs boson — in 1964.

oIt would be almost 50 years before the particle’s existence could be confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider.

  • Contribution to Theoretical Physics: Higgs’ theory related to how subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter get their mass. This theoretical understanding is a central part of the so-called Standard Model, which describes the physics of how the world is constructed.

Higgs boson or god Particle

  • About: It is the fundamental force-carrying particle associated with the Higgs field, crucial for imparting mass to other elementary particles.
  • Part of the Standard Model: Among the 17 elementary particles comprising the Standard Model of particle physics, the Higgs boson occupies a pivotal position, explaining the behavior of the universe's basic building blocks.
  • Dubbed the "God Particle": Due to its indispensable role in subatomic physics, the Higgs boson is often colloquially referred to as the "God particle," reflecting its profound significance.
  • Origin and Theory: Proposed in 1964 by Peter Higgs, François Englert, and other theorists, the Higgs boson's conceptualization aimed to elucidate the origins of particle mass, addressing a fundamental aspect of particle physics.
  • Discovery and Experimentation: Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) finally detected the elusive Higgs boson on July 4, 2012, marking a significant milestone in the field of particle physics.