The Higgs explained in three easy GIFs

Yesterday, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three physicists that helped discovered the Higgs boson. But, what is the Higgs boson?

To best explain, here’s a cocktail party filled with physicists. Suddenly, an accountant walks into the room. Because none of the physicists want to talk to him, the accountant easily makes his way to the bar.

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Now imagine, if instead of an accountant, physics superstar Peter Higgs walked into the room. He would be swarmed by physicists eager to talk to him and would have to push his way to the bar.

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In the above scenarios, the physicists at the party are the Higgs field. They interact differently with different people that walk in (just like the actual Higgs field interacts differently with different particles). 

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Now imagine someone on one side of the party starts a rumor. The rumor will move through the crowd as people clump together to hear it. This clump of people is like the Higgs boson.

For the full story behind the Higgs boson, check out Don Lincoln’s The Higgs Field, explained (animation by Powerhouse Animation Studios Inc.)

If you’d prefer to learn about the Higgs via milkshake instead of cocktail party, check out Dave Barney and Steve Goldfarb’s The basics of the Higgs boson.

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