CERN and the Search for the Higgs Boson

The ATLAS detector at CERN. The 27km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) passes through the centre.

The search for the Higgs Particle was the main motivation for the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN on the Swiss/French border, which is arguably the biggest (and most expensive) physics experiment in history.

The Higgs Particle (or Higgs Boson) is a suspected but as-yet undiscovered particle which could fill a significant gap in our knowledge of why the universe is the way it is, and why some particles, such as electrons and quarks, have “mass” .

It was first proposed by Peter Higgs in 1964, and it is likely to be discovered at CERN in the next few months. Of course, if it isn’t discovered, that raises a whole load of new questions…

The story of the search for the Higgs Particle is a fascinating one, and is the culmination of over a hundred years research into particle physics. There have been many useful (and world-changing) discoveries on this journey, including X-Rays, Lasers, MRI Scanners, Computer Chips, Nuclear Power and Electron Microscopes, as well as the development of a “periodic table” for particle physics.

I’ve written a new book called Higgs Force, all about the history of the search for the Higgs Boson, starting with the early history of physics and leading up to the work currently going on at CERN. The characters involved in the search for the Higgs Particle range from the genius to the quite mad, and they are described in detail. The book also explains the role played by the various sub-atomic particles, including electrons, protons and neutrons, neutrinos, quarks and so on, and the forces that act between them.

“Higgs Force is a delightfully readable and accessible account of the search for the force which ensures that there is something rather than nothing in the Universe.”

– John Gribbin, Astrophysicist and Science Author

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Kind Regards

Nicholas Mee

Author, Higgs Force