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Hank gives us the specifics on the "discovery" of the elusive Higgs boson. It is, at the very least, a victory for the scientific method!

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This episode was written by Dave Loos.

Previous SciShow episodes on the Higgs boson:
"Quantum fishing for the Higgs boson" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzahpuwKt_U
"So what IS the Higgs boson?" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUnDsNL_5nk
"More Higgs boson news" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRwh6FLEW3E

And check out Hank's other video about the Higgs boson from last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lwN7HBIvek
(Intro)

Hank Green: Hello, welcome back to Breaking News. And this is not quite 'breaking news', but I was on vacation, and I can't not talk about it.

Last week physicists at CERN announced what may be considered the most important scientific discovery of the 21st century. After decades of searching they said that on July 4th they are 'statistically confident' that they have found the only particle predicted by the standard model of physics that had not yet been discovered: the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is part of the Higgs field and the Higgs field is the thing that basically explains why things have mass. Without the Higgs field there would be a lot of nothingness in the universe. Technically it's a Gauge boson and it sends an indicator for the Higgs field, a theoretical fog of particles that permeates the universe. Physicists have for a long time been pretty confused about why some things are heavier than other things, like why a top quark is much more massive than an electron. Well, the Higgs field explains that. Some particles just interact with that field more than others, and some particles, liked photons, don't interact with it at all, and that's why they're always flying around at the speed of light.

Gauge bosons generally exist as virtual particles which can't be observed the same way as the particles that we're familiar with, so physicists use particle colliders to generate enough energy for them to sort of wink into existence. Once they appear their mass can be detected, and after analyzing eight hundred trillion collisions over the past two years CERN detected a boson with a mass around one hundred and twenty five point three billion electron volts that they think is our guy. Director Ralph Heuer described it in his announcement as "a new boson that's consistent with the Higgs."

Physicist Rob Roser at Fermilab in Illinois was among the first to hear the news. I asked him about this momentous discovery and its implications. For starters: was it a discovery or not?

Rob Roser: So, what you saw happen last week I guess, July 4th, was that the scientists were cautious. They're saying: we see a particle, or observe a new particle, that has some of the characteristics like what we would expect for a Higgs boson. But they're reluctant to take that final step yet to say it is a Higgs boson until they measure the various properties to see if it behaves the way-uh we expect it to.

Hank Green: Last week's announcement, he said, was only the first step in what will be at least a decade long quest to investigate how the Higgs behaves, and how it interacts with other particles. He added that there may even be more than one Higgs waiting to be found. It's way too soon to say or even guess what the applications of this discovery might be. Though some, like Roser equated with the importance of the discovery of the electron more than a century ago.

Rob Roser: If you use the electron as an example, uh, you know, I don't think a hundred and fifty years ago we understood that we would be having iPhones or having these kinds of conversations over the, the internet that you and I are, when we discovered the electron. So-uh, it's still a little bit too early to see.

Hank Green: For now let's just call this a victory for the scientific method. Scientists predicted that the Higgs boson must exist, they built a ten billion dollar particle accelerator to crash protons into each other at the speed of light and test that theory, and now the data indicates that they were indeed correct. For particle physicists and, really, all of humanity, the Higgs is another moon landing. But remember, above all... just stop calling it 'the God particle'. Please.

Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Not-Quite Breaking News. I apologize that I wasn't in the office for the actual breaking of the announcement. I was pretty angry, when I heard about it, to be honest. If you wanna catch the news as it really, truly breaks, you can follow us on Facebook or Twitter. We'll see you next time.