Today Francois Englert and Peter Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of the Higgs Boson. Though, a lot of the general public still doesn’t understand the role of the Higgs Boson in physics.
So what is the Higgs Boson?
According to the Standard Model of particle physics, elementary particles known as fermions and bosons are the building blocks of matter and according the the Standard Model, the Higgs Boson is what gives all elementary particles mass. (other than massless particles such as photons, neutrinos, etc.)
How does the Higgs Boson give the particles mass?
- There are different fields in physics (for example electromagnetic, nuclear and in this case— Higgs.) Each elementary particle gains traits by passing through the fields.
- The Higgs Boson’s role exists within the Higgs field — where it gives particles mass. All particles pass through the field and gain mass. Some particles have a harder time getting through Higgs field than others, and as a result, they’re heavier.
Basically, as particles pass through the Higgs field, they excite the Higgs Boson — causing the particles to gain mass.