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Necessary Alterations To The Standard Model After The Discovery Of The Higgs Boson Particle

1309 words - 6 pages

The Standard Model (SM) describes the fundamental particles of matter and their interaction with one another governed by three of the fundamental forces; electromagnetic, strong and weak. The Higgs boson, proposed fifty years ago by theoretical physicists (Brumfiel, 2012), is the fundamental particle responsible for mass and is an essential component of the Standard Model. Furthermore, it’s the only particle of the SM that has not yet been observed. In 2012 a particle consistent with the Standard Model Higgs boson, of mass around 125GeV (Aad et al. 2012), was observed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with the ATLAS detector, finally completing the Standard Model. This discovery of the Higgs boson is of great importance scientifically in that it completes the Standard Model or encourages physicists to extend the SM and other models. The practical uses, whether it be direct use of the boson itself or the use of processes and technologies employed to discover it, will also be considered. This discovery opens a whole new range of questions and implications for physicists such as the fact that there might be a ‘Higgs family’ rather than just the one Higgs boson predicted in the Standard Model and observed experimentally in 2012. This means that the Standard Model will have to be extended or other theories will have to be considered such as supersymmetry to explain such concepts.
In the Standard Model, particles know as bosons are responsible for mediating force between the fundamental particles; quarks and leptons. Prior to the discovery of the Higgs-like particle using the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider, the Higgs boson was the only particle in the Standard Model that was yet to be discovered. Various measurements that have been made prior to the research conducted in 2012 and 2011 at the LHC have provided indirect support for the existence of the Higgs field and therefore the Higgs boson (Aad et al. 2012). The Higgs boson is thought to be responsible for giving mass to other particles through the Higgs field which permeates space, explaining why some fundamental particles have mass and others do not. Particles that interact with the Higgs field gain mass implying that the more a particle interacts with the field, the more mass it acquires. The Higgs boson and field are needed mathematically to unify the electromagnetic force and weak force into one ‘electroweak’ force which can then be used to predict properties of other particles (Brumfiel, 2012).
The overall importance of the Higgs boson, that incorporates scientific and practical significance, comes down to one simple concept – the universe would not be as it is today if the Higgs boson and field did not exist (Taylor, 2011). The long awaited discovery of the particle that is responsible for mass provides physicists with the last piece of the Standard Model. With the completion of the SM physicists are able to accurately explain why certain particles in the universe have certain...

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