September 22, 2019
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The basics of the Higgs boson – Dave Barney and Steve Goldfarb


Translator: Andrea McDonough
Reviewer: Jessica Ruby So two guys walk into a bar. Really? No, seriously. Two guys walk into a bar, an ice cream bar: Dave, a physicist working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics, and Steve, a blues singer. “Dave, how’s it going?” “Steve, good to see you!” “Two scoops of chocolate almond for me.” “Vanilla shake.” “Hey, I just saw something about the LHC on TV. You guys found bozo in your detector?” “Well, not exactly. We found a boson, probably the Higgs boson.” “What’s that?” “It’s a particle.” “Don’t you find particles all the time?” “Yes, but this one means that the Higgs field might really exist.” “Field? What field?” “The Higgs field. It’s named after Peter Higgs, although many others contributed to the idea. It isn’t a field, like where you grow corn, but a hypothetical, invisible kind of force field that pervades the whole universe.” “Hmmmm, okay. If it pervades the whole universe, how come I’ve never seen it? That’s a bit strange.” “Well, actually, it’s not that strange. Think of the air around us. We can’t see it or smell it. Well, perhaps in some places we can. But we can detect its presence with sophisticated equipment, like our own bodies. So the fact that we can’t see something just makes it a bit harder to determine whether its really there or not.” “Alright, go on.” “So, we believe this Higgs field is all around us, everywhere in the universe. And what it does is rather special – it gives mass to elementary particles.” “What’s an elementary particle?” “An elementary particle is what we call particles that have no structure, they can’t be divided, they’re the basic building blocks of the universe.” “I thought those were atoms.” “Well, atoms are actually made of smaller components, protons, neutrons, and electrons. While electrons are fundamental particles, neutrons and protons are not. They are made up of other fundamental particles called quarks.” “Sounds like Russian dolls. Does it ever end?” “Actually, we don’t really know. But our current understanding is called the Standard Model. In it, there are two types of fundamental particles: the fermions, that make up matter, and the bosons, that carry forces. We often order these particles according to their properties, such as mass. We can measure the masses of the particles, but we never really knew where this mass came from or why they have the masses they do.” “So how does this Higgs field thing explain mass?” “Well, when a particle passes through the Higgs field, it interacts and gets mass. The more it interacts, the more mass it has.” “OK, I kind of get that, but is it really that important? I mean, what if there were no Higgs field?” “If there were no Higgs field, the world wouldn’t exist at all. There would be no stars, no planets, no air, no anything, not even that spoon or the ice cream you’re eating.” “Oh, that would be bad. Okay, but where does this Higgs boson fit into things?” “Alright, now, you see the cherry in my shake?” “Can I have it?” “No, not yet. We have to use it as an analogy first.” “Oh, right, the cherry’s the Higgs boson.” “No, not quite. The cherry is a particle moving through the Higgs field, the shake. The shake gives the cherry its mass.” “I get it. Okay, so the molecules of the shake are the Higgs bosons!” “Well, you’re getting closer. It takes an excitation of the Higgs field to produce the Higgs boson. So, for example, if I were to add energy by, say, dropping this cherry in the shake,” “Ah, then the drops that spill on the bar are the Higgs bosons.” “Almost! The splash itself is the Higgs boson.” “Are you serious?” “Well, that’s what quantum mechanics teaches us. In fact, all particles are excitations of fields.” “Okay, right. Well, I kind of see why you like particle physics, it’s quite cool, strange, but cool.” “Yeah, you could call it a bit strange, it’s not like everyday life. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field. By finding the Higgs boson, we know that the Higgs field exists.” “Right. So now you found it, we know this Higgs field exists. You must be done. Is there anything left of particle physics?” “Actually, we’ve just begun. It’s a bit like, you know, when Columbus thought he had found a new route to India. He’d, indeed, found something new, but not quite what he was expecting. So, first, we need to make sure that the boson we found is actually the Higgs boson. It seems to fit, but we need to measure its properties to be sure.” “How’d you do that?” “Take a lot more data. This new boson lives for only a very short time before it breaks down or decays into lighter, more stable particles. By measuring these particles, you learn about the properties of the boson.” “And what exactly are you looking for?” “Well, the Standard Model predicts how often and in what ways the Higgs boson would decay to the various, lighter particles. So we want to see if the particle we have found is the one predicted by the Standard Model or if it fits into other possible theoretical models.” “And if it fits a different model?” “That would be even more exciting! In fact, that’s how science advances. We replace old models with new ones if they better explain our observations.” “Right, so it seems like finding this Higgs boson gives a direction for exploration, a bit like that Columbus guy heading west.” “Exactly! And this is really just the beginning.”

Otis Rodgers

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100 COMMENTS

  1. The KickAssNerd Posted on January 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I love this. 2019 anyone?

    Reply
  2. cadillacdevile Posted on January 30, 2019 at 2:33 am

    There is just something about this skit that I love so much, wish I could see more of Dave and especially Steve, he is so adorable 🙂

    Reply
  3. Aran Majata Posted on February 2, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    and if the higss field was created in the big explosion and not the matter

    Reply
  4. Lajya Thakur Posted on February 4, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    U help me a lot.

    Reply
  5. Ramachandra Bhakta Posted on February 5, 2019 at 7:36 am

    The only complaint I have is that they mentioned about Peter Higgs but not Satyendra Nath Bose, after whom the 'Bosons' are named. That said, it's an excellent animation.

    Reply
  6. Rejith Kadakkal Posted on February 6, 2019 at 3:47 am

    I cant understant

    Reply
  7. Antoine 123 Posted on February 8, 2019 at 3:46 am

    J'AI une question prof j'ai entendu que le boson de Higgs était lié à une fin du monde est ce vrai répondez moi vite svp

    Reply
  8. Susmita Ghosh Posted on February 13, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Just LOOOVED to listen Barney talk!

    Reply
  9. Sonu Shaw Posted on February 18, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    That's one of the best videos of YouTube

    Reply
  10. Michael BA77 Posted on February 26, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    This was just perfect

    Reply
  11. Xr Shim Posted on February 27, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Now…The cherry… Please?

    Reply
  12. Terence Nazareth Posted on February 27, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Wonderful!!

    Reply
  13. Faizan Munir Khan Rajput Posted on February 28, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Why does a Higgs Field exist? Why does it persist?

    Reply
  14. DEEKSHANT SINGH Posted on March 4, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Satisfying and a bit creepy at the same time ……

    Love it

    Reply
  15. Nick Stellar Posted on March 10, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I think he did get his ice cream back at 5:01

    Reply
  16. CJ Donohue Posted on March 12, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Hey Ted-Ed, you should use this art style more.

    Reply
  17. valok amre Posted on March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Bazon Higgs is the same like theory of Efir "efir – in the role of the field" and "coronias – in the role of the weighting compound" according to D.I. Mendeleev. But only now it became known and clear that Tesla and Mendeleev were right …
    That is the essence of humanity. The rightness of a person is made a mockery…

    Reply
  18. Md. Nazif Hatif Posted on March 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Steve’s accent bears an eerie semblance to David beckham’s…

    Reply
  19. SHUBHANGI SHITOLE Posted on March 16, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    What does bald guy mean when he says elementary particles 'interact'??

    Reply
  20. Dawn Ripper Posted on March 21, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    This is wrong, the Higgs field does not give elementary particles mass! Energy does.

    Reply
  21. aharin parvin Posted on March 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    I am watching ted ed since February 2019! I am very exciting now!😊

    Reply
  22. Yusril Atfan Posted on March 31, 2019 at 9:34 am

    The higgs boson was discovered WHEN I WAS 3 YEARS OLD.

    Reply
  23. Ice Wallow Come Chico Posted on March 31, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Higgins Bosom

    Reply
  24. shreeprakash pandey Posted on April 1, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Then doesn't higgs field is somewhat like the notion granted to us by Einstein by his general theory of relativity and the highs bosons be somewhat like the eternal existing entropy the law we get from study of thermodynamics so what makes it different from them ?

    Reply
  25. Sky TrexZ Posted on April 2, 2019 at 1:21 am

    What if it's just God that gives mass

    Reply
  26. VAIBHAV VERMA Posted on April 5, 2019 at 3:52 am

    But I was taught that electrons were made up of 1 up and 2 down quarks.

    Reply
  27. germanpenn Posted on April 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    All mass comes from the higgs field? Does the Higgs Field explain the whole mass of my body, for example? Or not all of my mass comes from the elementary particles that constitute me?

    Reply
  28. lordoftheoreos Posted on April 11, 2019 at 12:55 am

    When I first found this video some years ago, I was puzzled. After learning a little bit of Physics from mostly books and a little bit of the web; I could finally understand it.

    For people interested in learning about Physics, here is a website that was recommended to me. It would be a good place to start: http://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/

    Read some textbooks for beginners (don't be ashamed, I read around three of those in the past couple of months!) and it will help you a lot. It is truly intriguing. It helps you understand the more complex concepts and the mysterious way the world works.

    Reply
  29. Han Gyo Jin Posted on April 13, 2019 at 2:35 am

    this is where i get lost 0:00

    Reply
  30. Casius CBU Posted on April 13, 2019 at 5:11 am

    default volume looks fine but with earphone no, the lows and high octave fluctuates greatly, use better microphones or maybe some sort of softwares that could remedy these sort of annoyance. infovideo such as these are nice to mess around with. proactive.

    Reply
  31. K J Posted on April 26, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    People forget about the ice cream. Appreciate the topic and animation!!!!

    Reply
  32. youtube_me Posted on April 27, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Steve wants to eat the boson now!

    Reply
  33. Avijit Sarker Posted on April 28, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Great 🤗

    Reply
  34. Ash Rathore Posted on April 29, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Satyendra nath BOSE
    The name of the other scientist in Higgs boson.

    Reply
  35. Anonymous173 Posted on May 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    TED-Ed is the best teacher in YouTube. Perfect!

    Reply
  36. Kristian Bakkom Posted on May 2, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    This is Rick and Morty in another universe. I love this so much.

    Reply
  37. Rishab Jain Posted on May 7, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I am going with this theory

    Reply
  38. Jason Wilton Posted on May 9, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Particals are a lie. The wave model is the real shizzazles.

    Reply
  39. ChromaticJester Posted on May 14, 2019 at 11:44 am

    Steve "Are you serious…" A mood

    Reply
  40. NEXTBIGTEEN INNOVATIONS Posted on May 17, 2019 at 10:26 am

    The fact that you can't see GOD doesn't mean he doesn't exist even if he's everywhere in the universe at once

    Reply
  41. christian Saldaña Posted on May 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Compare the man's head to his head. And he is a giraffe,his neck is so long. And,when he sips,he has a bird's beak.😅

    Reply
  42. Ito MS06S Posted on May 20, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    Physics Teacher: Well… electrons don't really spin around a nucleon, but there's a probability for its location near the nucleon. So what we taught you before was a lie…
    Me: 4:06

    Reply
  43. Ismail Achir Posted on May 21, 2019 at 1:01 am

    Give him the cherry

    Reply
  44. The Fangirl Posted on May 24, 2019 at 8:51 am

    It is one of the best video ever I had seen about particle physics.

    Reply
  45. Hackerbrine Lam Posted on May 30, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    2019
    wait so the higgs field gives mass so it gives energy
    because e=mc2, so …………………………………..

    Reply
  46. Ian Macbeth Posted on May 31, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    ‘The force surrounds us, it binds us and penetrates us, it holds the universe together.’ Obi Wan Kenobi

    Reply
  47. Mitch Sanna Posted on June 1, 2019 at 1:20 am

    AMAZING animations and amazing content, seriously

    Reply
  48. Mythtic B Posted on June 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    If the Higgs field gives partials mass, what does the mass do? I only ask this because apparently gravity doesn’t fit into the standard model.

    Reply
  49. Sztc Ajah Posted on June 4, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    Ada orang indonesia kga?

    Reply
  50. Jaydeep Vipradas Posted on June 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    We need to find very basic of minimal connection. Things that are not connected are part of different universe. Instead of finding basic connection among elementary particles and fields, basic minimal connection should be defined philosophically and mathematically.

    Some say, there is exchange of meta-particles among objects and forces gets exerted due to that exchange. E.g when we throw a ball in air, meta-particles gets exchanged among the earth and ball, and ball gets pulled toward the earth. All though meta-particles may not be fundamental connection.

    Some say there are 5 types of fundamental elements in the universe: rigidity, balance, energy, retaliation and delay (space).
    These may not be fundamental connection either.
    Fundamental connection would be an ability to interact with other in any manner.
    This fundamental connection need not be linear, like space we see. Without that connection everything is fully disconnected. I.e. no particle can see other, exchange any energy or interact.
    We can say big bang itself could have created fundamental connection, and divergent energy interacted with itself over time to create convergent energy, aka mass. Some believe that space itself has properties of matter, aka luminous eather, not proven by science yet. So space need not be fundamental connection.
    Time itself can be thought as fundamental connection, but it is hypothetical. Escaping fundamental connection would be escaping the universe.
    Fundamental connection could be also fundamental interface. Analogy: in the universe of the internet, network socket is fundamental connection and interface. Here, connected elements are not linearly next to each other.
    Definition of fundamental connection could be recursive. E.g. in computer science, a list is created by "a memory address containing another memory address" along with data. Thus fundamental connection is created between two memory locations.
    Infinite can be defined by recursive math operator. Right now pure math doesn't have recursive operator. Also, singularity is different than recursive operator.

    Reply
  51. Daniel Copeland Posted on June 9, 2019 at 10:04 am

    "How does the Higgs field give particles their mass?"
    "It interacts with them."
    "I see. Thank you for that comprehensive explanation that leaves me very much more enlightened than I was before I asked the question."
    (Hint: that last line is sarcasm on my part)

    Reply
  52. Amina Kaja Posted on June 9, 2019 at 10:52 pm

    Gosh, I loved this video! Different than the other ones, so great!

    Reply
  53. Waleed Khairy Posted on June 10, 2019 at 5:52 am

    The simplest tutorial video I have ever seen I just love it

    Reply
  54. Averlief88 Posted on June 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Great video! I have a couple of questions. Are nucleons and electrons excitations of fields like the case of the Higgs boson being an excitation of the Higgs field? If so, what are the fields of which nucleons and electrons are excitations? I'm very curious and would appreciate a little explanation.

    Reply
  55. James M Posted on June 12, 2019 at 4:59 am

    Here's an unpopular opinion. Dave never ask anything to Steve about Blues neither "how he is". The real story it's that Dave it's glorified A

    Reply
  56. linh nguyen Posted on June 12, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Why is the blue singer an alien with six legs?

    Reply
  57. Chris Kalogeropouls Posted on June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    The Higgs field gives you mass??!! I must be interacting with it extensively given my weight.

    Reply
  58. Kaushik Nambisan Posted on June 15, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    Ted ed keep up the good work

    Reply
  59. Mohit Kakkar Posted on June 16, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Great way to explain a complex thing in simple and interesting words.. Thanks..

    Reply
  60. Gabriele comanducci Posted on June 18, 2019 at 7:40 am

    This is art

    Reply
  61. Once Upon A Cross Posted on June 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    So what happens if one determines the mass of a Higgs boson particle? Will we collapse to a pea sized object?

    Reply
  62. Jeremy Dirac Posted on June 20, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Wow. This is SO well done!

    Reply
  63. karthikeyan M.V Posted on June 23, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Bose has become the most popular Indian surname .

    Reply
  64. Dèëpãk Køtñãlá Posted on June 28, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Wow what an explanation through cartoon plzz make more like that… thank you

    Reply
  65. Biswa Borkakoty Posted on June 29, 2019 at 11:05 am

    So, Nikola Tesla was right more than 100 yrs back when he said empty space is not empty but filled with ether… now scientist have named it as Higgs field.

    Reply
  66. Yahya Al Haj Eid Posted on June 29, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    *End of video*, Steve: Can I have that cherry now?

    Reply
  67. Bill Blount Posted on June 30, 2019 at 12:24 am

    One day at a nc school at a science building we remodeled it was winter and snow out side and the heat was on high the main physics professor asked me why his windows were leaking. They was sweating from condensation I told. Him I can't fix that you need new Windows or turn down the heat he argued with me a few minutes. I finally said I can't explain it more it's a a ice glass in the summer time he was super smart but had no common sense

    Reply
  68. Ana Draguleanu Posted on June 30, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I also wish I Could Find classmates who are genuinely interrested in what I have to say, not just be interrested so I Could be happy or anything. I would be S-o glad if such people existe but, unfortunately there are too few people of this kind.

    Reply
  69. anantha krishnan Posted on June 30, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Me and my friends also talk these kind of stuffs at bar….. After 2 beers

    Reply
  70. General Shepard Posted on July 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    what is the shape of the universe?

    Reply
  71. Japone81 Posted on July 4, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    All science shall be animated

    Reply
  72. ben flamini Posted on July 5, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    YOu LiKe JaZZ

    Reply
  73. KAVYASRI NALLA Posted on July 6, 2019 at 11:25 am

    I don't understand a bit🥺

    Reply
  74. Gatchaman Series Posted on July 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    I like this. A good bottle episode.

    Reply
  75. Esequiel Tovar Posted on July 6, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Poor steve could get convinced about anything

    Reply
  76. Esequiel Tovar Posted on July 6, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Steve is gonna have a very lonely scared death

    Reply
  77. Doctor Purple Posted on July 8, 2019 at 4:49 am

    I predicted years ago that space, time, matter, and energy, were all composed of the same fundamental unit. After the Higgs Boson was discovered I felt one step closer to validated in my belief.
    Really, this combined with the double slit experiment essentially proving that the universe chooses a way to be as soon as someone bothers to observe it brings us one step closer to my broader hypothesis: This existence is merely a simulation resting in a higher plane of existence.

    Reply
  78. amresh yadav Posted on July 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    all other fields, except higgs field, are in ground zero, unless energy is given to them for excition.

    higgs field have a non zero value, in space time.
    false vaccum.

    Reply
  79. vansinniger Posted on July 16, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    I was hoping for to learn some chunks of theory about the blues in return. Was so excited to have a blues musician in the mix… 🙁

    Reply
  80. s s Posted on July 22, 2019 at 6:55 am

    The scientist sounds like tom hanks

    Reply
  81. Ace Asuncion Posted on July 22, 2019 at 11:18 am

    1:50 M A N I A by Fall Out Boy

    Reply
  82. MR GENIUS Posted on July 23, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    During the expansion of universe does the higgs field expands at the rate of expansion of space or it does not???

    Reply
  83. JC.M Account Posted on July 24, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I love it, for a simple mind like me.
    You guys have no idea how this help,
    Thank you sir 👍

    Reply
  84. Mint Ripe Posted on July 26, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    this is one of my favorite Ted videos really fun and easy to understand

    Reply
  85. dolphin534 Posted on July 28, 2019 at 3:19 am

    interesting theory, shame its wrong

    Edit: it would take a while to fully explain but basically there are a couple key ideas about particles and being in general which they are taking for assumption when arriving at these conclusions, mainly within how they are being defined and thus observed. feel free to respond with specific questions and ill try to respond to as many as possible because as i said, it would take way too long to fully write it out

    Reply
  86. 1La fo reeS Posted on July 29, 2019 at 10:59 am

    The space religion will eventually lead people back to who created it.

    Reply
  87. Maxim Dabster Posted on July 30, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    4:48 I thought Dave was going to say gravity.

    Reply
  88. Trasher Lee Posted on July 31, 2019 at 1:55 am

    When the roach or whatever said, “Ok, I get it…” I actually didn’t and I’m human. Embarrassing stuff.

    Reply
  89. Marsya Zulkarnain Posted on July 31, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Big Bang theory got me into theoretical physics

    Reply
  90. Stu Mas Posted on August 5, 2019 at 10:35 am

    How was the higgs field excited?

    Reply
  91. Aldsy Irgg Posted on August 6, 2019 at 5:43 am

    All this time 'oh that pink guy is damn cute' keeps flashing into my mind when thinking about the boson

    Reply
  92. Madhuresh Pratap Posted on August 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Correct ur map of india

    Reply
  93. Великий Каменяр Posted on August 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Pls add russian subtitles 2 video

    Reply
  94. The Sprite Show Posted on August 11, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Is called God

    Reply
  95. Peter Moygannon Posted on August 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    just say it we are in a simulated reality..so many scientists just don't want to say it they all want to be a real liveing thing . all trying to find a way out ..it just can't be true.

    Reply
  96. Main time Anime Posted on August 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Are the bazon is same as strings

    Reply
  97. Higo Rodrigues Posted on August 18, 2019 at 12:12 am

    "All particles are excitation of fields"…? 4:17
    Don't quite get that…

    Reply
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