Higgs boson

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The Higgs boson, sometimes called the Higgs particle,[9][10] is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics produced by the quantum excitation of the Higgs field,[11][12] one of the fields in particle physics theory.[12] In the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a massive scalar boson with zero spin, even (positive) parity, no electric charge, and no colour charge that couples to (interacts with) mass.[13] It is also very unstable, decaying into other particles almost immediately upon generation.

Quick facts: Composition, Statistics, Symbol, Theorised, D...
Higgs boson
Candidate Higgs boson events from collisions between protons in the LHC. The top event in the CMS experiment shows a decay into two photons (dashed yellow lines and green towers). The lower event in the ATLAS experiment shows a decay into four muons (red tracks).[lower-alpha 1]
CompositionElementary particle
TheorisedR. Brout, F. Englert, P. Higgs, G. S. Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and T. W. B. Kibble (1964)
DiscoveredLarge Hadron Collider (2011–2013)
Mass125.25 ± 0.17 GeV/c2[1]
Mean lifetime1.56×10−22 s[lower-alpha 2] (predicted)
1.2 ~ 4.6 × 10−22 s (tentatively measured at 3.2 sigma (1 in 1000) significance)[3][4]
Decays into
Electric charge0 e
Colour charge0
Weak isospin1/2
Weak hypercharge+1

The Higgs field is a scalar field with two neutral and two electrically charged components that form a complex doublet of the weak isospin SU(2) symmetry. Its "Mexican hat-shaped" potential leads it to take a nonzero value everywhere (including otherwise empty space), which breaks the weak isospin symmetry of the electroweak interaction and, via the Higgs mechanism, gives mass to many particles.

Both the field and the boson are named after physicist Peter Higgs, who in 1964, along with five other scientists in three teams, proposed the Higgs mechanism, a way for some particles to acquire mass. (All fundamental particles known at the time[lower-alpha 3] should be massless at very high energies, but fully explaining how some particles gain mass at lower energies had been extremely difficult.) If these ideas were correct, a particle known as a scalar boson should also exist (with certain properties). This particle was called the Higgs boson and could be used to test whether the Higgs field was the correct explanation.

After a 40 year search, a subatomic particle with the expected properties was discovered in 2012 by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The new particle was subsequently confirmed to match the expected properties of a Higgs boson. Physicists from two of the three teams, Peter Higgs and François Englert, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 for their theoretical predictions. Although Higgs's name has come to be associated with this theory, several researchers between about 1960 and 1972 independently developed different parts of it.

In the mainstream media, the Higgs boson is sometimes called the "God particle" after the 1993 book The God Particle by Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman,[14] although the nickname has been criticised by many physicists.[15][16]