Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 May 1

Higgs Boson Explained by Cartoon
Illustrations Credit & Copyright: Jorge Cham, PHD Comics

Explanation: What is all this fuss about the Higgs boson? The physics community is abuzz that a fundamental particle expected by the largely successful Standard Model of particle physics may soon be found by the huge Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe. The term boson refers to a type of fundamental particle with similarities to the photon, while Higgs refers to Peter Higgs, a physicist who among others published research predicting the mechanism through which such a particle might act. The above animated cartoon explains in humorous but impressive detail why the Higgs boson is expected, and one method that the Large Hadron Collider is using to find it. Although some rumors hint that preliminary traces of the Higgs boson are already being found, even not finding this unusual particle would open the door to a new fundamental understanding of how our universe works.

Tomorrow's picture: helene hues

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