This Fourth of July, we will either the most significant validation of modern physics in its history, or we won’t. Either way, the fireworks will be fun to watch.
Here’s a great primer on the fabled scientific hunt for the particle that “gives everything its mass, its heft — from the subatomic mist to people, buildings and stars.”
And one more explanation on what the thing is, in case it makes zero sense to you. [emphasis mine]
“Think of it a little like this: by smashing things hard enough, a little bit of the Higgs field got chipped off into a boson that could be measured before decaying. Sort of like throwing a rock really hard at a concrete wall — eventually part of the wall will chip off. In this case, it was like a wall that only threw off a little bit of dust in response to a major collision, and then scientists were able to tell that the wall was there because they took a picture of the dust before it blew away. Except in this case the wall is also continuous and infinite, and invisible, and we all live inside of it, and it’s what gives us mass, which is to say the quality of physical existence.” via