In particle physics, the Higgs mechanism (also called the Brout–Englert–Higgs mechanism, Englert–Brout–Higgs–Guralnik–Hagen–Kibble mechanism, Anderson–Higgs mechanism, Higgs-Kibble mechanism by Abdus Salam and ABEGHHK'tH mechanism by Peter Higgs) is a kind of mass generation mechanism, a process that gives mass to elementary particles. According to this theory, particles gain mass by interacting with the Higgs field that permeates all space. More precisely, the Higgs mechanism endows gauge bosons in a gauge theory with mass through absorption of Nambu–Goldstone bosons arising in spontaneous symmetry breaking.
The simplest implementation of the mechanism adds an extra Higgs field to the gauge theory. The spontaneous symmetry breaking of the underlying local symmetry triggers conversion of components of this Higgs field to Goldstone bosons which interact with (at least some of) the other fields in the theory, so as to produce mass terms for (at least some of) the gauge bosons. This mechanism may also leave behind elementary scalar (spin-0) particles, known as Higgs bosons.
In the Standard Model, the phrase "Higgs mechanism" refers specifically to the generation of masses for the W±, and Z weak gauge bosons through electroweak symmetry breaking. The Large Hadron Collider at CERN announced results consistent with the Higgs particle on July 4, 2012 but stressed that further testing is needed to confirm the Standard Model.
The mechanism was proposed in 1962 by Philip Warren Anderson. The relativistic model was developed in 1964 by three independent groups: Robert Brout and Francois Englert; Peter Higgs; and Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble.
Famous quotes containing the word mechanism:
“The law isnt justice. Its a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be.”
—Raymond Chandler (18881959)