Ever since the 1960s, particle physicists have been searching for this tiny particle they called the Higgs. It’s named after Peter Higgs, one of a handful of scientists who proposed the theory to complete the standard model of particle physics. The discovery had been rumored for months. Then, on July 4, scientists at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced the evidence of a particle that walked, talked and quacked like a Higgs boson. It was a big day for Peter Higgs.
The problem for Higgs and his groupies was that the standard model was missing its mass. In my mind, it’s missing a lot more than that. I didn’t want the Higgs boson to be found. Then they’d have to scrap the entire thing and come up with something better. The problem for me is the way the model describes forces. Let’s use gravity as an example. Since particles that carry forces are called bosons, you’re supposed to be held to that chair by bosons called gravitons that bounce back and forth between you and the ground. Now that’s goofy. Do you really think there are little graviton particles bouncing all over the place? There aren’t, but that’s just the way the standard model describes a gravitational field. So what’s a field, then? The standard model can’t tell us. Einstein spent most of his life trying to answer that question. He didn’t get much further than gravity, and his theory doesn’t even work with the standard model.
So the Higgs, like the gravitons, bounce against you and me to give us our mass. In reality it’s some kind of field. But because we can’t describe fields any better, we call it a boson. Yes, this was a big announcement. But what does it really mean? To me it means that in the grand scheme of God and things, we still don’t understand very much.