The Higgs Field is Like Flooding (and why I probably won’t be back in Somerset today)

Be ready for some bad science

The Higgs boson is that mysterious particle that the CERN built a supercollider (the Large Hadron Collider) to detect, and we’re pretty sure it found it. The Higgs field is something that exists complementary to the Higgs boson particle. To picture that, imagine an electromagnetic field (that thing you should have studied in school). The electromagnetic field’s associated particle is the photon. The Higgs boson and the Higgs field have a similar relationship.

The field is caused by the energy gradients caused by where photons are and are not.

So, what does a Higgs field do? It gives other quantum particles mass. Without the Higgs field all quantum bits would be massless energy, so the Higgs field is what turns energy into matter (sort of).

Image the current flooding in the Southwest of England is the Higgs field, and all the people trying to get to somewhere are quantum particles. Suddenly, thanks to the flooding (the Higgs field) it takes more energy to get the people (the quantum particles) to move. And that is what mass is all about, needing energy to get a thing to move. The more energy required the higher the mass.

The moral of this story is that I don’t think I’m going to have the energy to get to Somerset any time soon.

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