Higgs boson: Tutorial explains why this tiny particle is such a big deal

Illustration of a Higgs boson experiment

Credit: McCauley, Thomas; Taylor, Lucas; CERN

Texas A&M University physicist Roland E. Allen has written a comprehensive review of the Higgs boson that explains the significance of this elusive particle, its recent experimental discovery and the Nobel Prize-winning proposal for its existence nearly half a century ago.

Allen’s paper, “The Higgs Bridge,” was published Dec. 9 by the international journal Physica Scripta in tandem with a special topical issue entitled “Nobel Symposium 154: Physics of the Large Hadron Collider.” The celebratory edition, stimulated by the Higgs discovery announced July 4, 2012, is timed to commemorate Nobel Prize Week events in Stockholm and culminating in the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Nobel Banquet celebrating this year’s Nobel laureates on Dec. 10.

Physica Scripta, which is published by the Institute of Physics (IOP) on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, occasionally publishes tutorial papers that are meant to bridge gaps in readers’ knowledge and to provide insight into problems, methods and results in different areas of physics. Allen’s is intended as an accessible overview and comprehensive teaching tool for undergraduate students and lecturers across a broad spectrum beyond physics who are interested in the physics behind the Higgs boson, from how it affects the Standard Model to how it could impact our future understanding of the universe.

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