The Nobel Prize for Physics, 2013, has gone to proponents and studiers of the elusive God Particle. The prize which includes about $2m in money has been awarded to, From Belgium, Francois Englert, and from England, Peter W. Higgs, who separately and independently pursued the Higgs Boson, that mischievous "God Particle." The "Higgs mechanism" was proposed by several physicists including Higgs at about the same time; it suggests the existence of a new particle, the Higgs boson. Physicists consider the Higgs boson "the most sought after particle in modern physics."
Peter Ware Higgs, CH, FRS, FRSE (born 29 May 1929) is a British theoretical physicist, Nobel Prize laureate and emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh.
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Peter Higgs by wikipedia
He is best known for his 1960s proposal of broken symmetry in electroweak theory, explaining the origin of mass of elementary particles in general and of the W and Z bosons in particular ---the so-called Higgs mechanism.
Francois Englert has made contributions in statistical
physics, quantum field theory, cosmology, string theory and supergravity.
Francois Englert by wikipedia
The key to the understanding of this enigma lies in an awareness of "supersymmetry". The main thrust of the Hadron collider (to be discussed later) in Switzerland, is the study of the theory that at speeds faster than light, speeds that are only seen in the center of stars, including our sun, or speculated upon at light-plus speeds resulting trillions of years ago at the Big Bang, energy changes to matter. Were it not for that occurrence, the universe would indeed be all energy, no matter, and there would be no living creatures to question and study these things. In the suns center, these speeds, this matter production -- it is a pulsing thing, going from matter to energy, matter to energy, repeating -- takes place in incomprehensibly small spaces, inside what will or might become atoms. This pulsing is complex, may involve matter and anti-matter, and has evoked the new term, "supersymmetry".
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), resides in a circular tunnel 100 meters beneath the Swiss/French border at Geneva near Berne and weighs more than 38,000 tons. The purpose of the Hadron collider is to magnetically propel small particles to a speed approaching the speed of light, this in a vacuum environment at cold space temperatures -- temperatures near absolute zero. The small particles are moving in opposite directions, with the intent of a collision, which are photographed and studied, to provide information related to the Big Bang, black holes, and various other theoretical phenomena. The resultant "fireballs" have temperatures in excess of ten trillion degrees; a million times hotter than the center of the Sun.
The key to understanding the Higgs Boson --- God Particle --- is that particles acquire mass by passing through a field of Higgs particles. Click here for an interesting video from the New York Times to explain the matter farther (No pun intended.)
While the theories of Englert, and Higgs are gaining acceptance, there are still some unexplained conceptual holes to fill. One such enigma is that the discovered particles are some 16 orders of magnitude lighter than would need to be to fully explain all of the mass in the universe.
Physics is a vexing field; we humans often try in vain to explain every paradox and mystery. Englert and Higgs have advanced that noble cause and are to be honored and praised. The future will support or refute today's findings; the universe is a never ending source of wonder.