The Higgs Boson Explained (PHD Comics)

The Higgs Boson Explained, PHD Comics, Jorge Cham
Curious about the “Higgs Boson” breakthrough mentioned in the popular science news lately, and/or the nature of the very small10 particles that make up life, the universe and everything? (Of course you are!)

Well Daniel Whiteson, an experimental physicist at CERN, where the exciting high energy particle smashing action has been taking place, explains it to you, as illustrated and animated in “animated whiteboard” style by Jorge Cham of PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper) Comics in a short called The Higgs Boson Explained (on Vimeo).

(The animation begins about 30 seconds in. The above screens are just samples, and not meant to read as a sequence).

This was recorded and animated prior to the recent announcement that the mysterious and elusive particle (which Mr. Higgs so carelessly misplaced) has likely been found by the happy matter smashers at CERN (well, 99.999% likely).

Don’t you just feel smarter already?

[Via Rebecca J. Rosen on The Atlantic]


2 Replies to “The Higgs Boson Explained (PHD Comics)”

  1. This cartoon is confusing. No field permeates the whole universe. Is this just an analogy similar to Einstein’s fabric of space-time? And the H particle in between the two masses… isn’t that supposed to be a graviton? Totally confused now. The Higgs gives mass to particles sort of like charge. But the Higgs is not a virtual particle. The graviton is the virtual particle that is exchanged when the force of Gravity is mediated. SO how does the Higgs relate to the graviton? The Higgs mediates the interaction on a very short scale and contributes mass (it is not the only source of mass), whereas the graviton is required to explain the warping of empty space, gravity waves and gravitational lensing (the Higgs cannot do that). As one person I read put it (rather cryptically) “…Higgs bosons gives mass, which is the property due to which a force gravity occurs, which is mediated by gravitons which is massless.” You need both.

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