The Higgs Field

I’m not a physicist so I can’t pretend to understand subatomic particles in any but a superficial way but now that some evidence from the Large Hadron Collider has been adduced for the Higgs boson I must confess it seems a bit weird.

Now, all subatomic physics is weird – solid objects are >99.99% empty space, they can behave like waves and like particles simultaneously, they seem to be in instantaneous communcation with each other all over the universe – but the action of the Higgs boson seems to be dependent on a field dragging on certain kinds of particles. Well such fields are fine, I can conceptualise magnetic, electrical and gravitational fields easily enough, but when I first heard it explained to me the Higgs field did seem to me to sound a bit like the 19th century concept of the luminiferous aether, long since discarded in favour of relativity and quantum theory.

If the Higgs is found to exist, fine, there’s another field to add to the list.

If it doesn’t, though, that’s a whole potentially more exciting new ball game.

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