Over the past couple of days, you may have read that scientists have found the Higgs boson. You may have even heard some people refer to it as the "God Particle." You also may have just glossed over that headline because why would you care that they've found it, when you don't even know why the hell they were looking in the first place?
In short (really short), the Higgs boson is hypothetical particle (boson) present in a Higgs field. The Higgs boson was first mentioned in 1964 as a way to explain the Higgs mechanism, or, the way in which particles acquire mass. Thus ends my embarrassing attempt at particle physics.
Well, if you ever wanted to have the Higgs boson explained to you by a guy wearing a pretty sweet T-shirt - now is your chance.
The "guy" is actually John Ellis, a theoretical physicist who sat down to attempt to succinctly define the Higgs boson just one day before CERN made their big announcement regarding their research into the particle.
For those who feel like understanding something like this is out of the realm of possibility, the video won't answer all of your questions. We're dealing with complicated stuff, mind you. But at least you won't feel left out at parties and can maybe throw your two cents into the mix when people are arguing about whether or not it should really be called the "God Particle."
Get educated below:
Now that you (kind of) understand what's so important about the Higgs boson, you can see why it's such a big deal that they've found a new particle that's "consistent" with the highly prized Higgs boson.
The next step will be to determine the precise nature of the particle and its significance for our understanding of the universe. Are its properties as expected for the long-sought Higgs boson, the final missing ingredient in the Standard Model of particle physics? Or is it something more exotic? The Standard Model describes the fundamental particles from which we, and every visible thing in the universe, are made, and the forces acting between them. All the matter that we can see, however, appears to be no more than about 4% of the total. A more exotic version of the Higgs particle could be a bridge to understanding the 96% of the universe that remains obscure.
Go get 'em, guys.