• Question: How can the Higgs Boson have mass if it itself induces mass?

    Asked by sebstrug to Ben, Ezzy, Sam on 22 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: Elizabeth Pearson

      Elizabeth Pearson answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      I’ve wondered this myself (I’m not a particle physicst). For particles we don’t tend to think of masses in terms of kg, but in energies. I think two Higgs Bosons can work together, so they give each toehr mass.

    • Photo: Sam Vinko

      Sam Vinko answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      Think of the Higgs as a strange kind of honey, and the particles with a certain mass as marbles.

      Then put marbles inside the honey, and try to move them – you’ll see it difficult to do, compared to moving them around in a jar without the honey. This is a very simplified way of understanding what the Higgs (honey) is supposed to do (and some people hate this parallel): it makes it harder to move the marbles around, and the measure of how ‘hard’ it is to move the marbles is this strage thing called ‘marble mass’.

      Now you’ll agree that its even hard to move the honey itself around (say, by juggling the jar, or with a spoon), so there must be a ‘difficulty to move’ associated with the honey itself – you conclude that it has mass in the same way the marbles did.

      Now please excuse me while I go to get beheaded by the theoretical physics community for having made this comparison.

    • Photo: Ben Smart

      Ben Smart answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      The Higgs Boson gives other particles their mass by ‘interacting’ with them,
      ‘Interact’ here means the same sort of thing as ‘influence’ or ‘affect’. If something ‘interacts’ with something else, then it has an effect on that thing. It gives that thing some sort of property (like momentum, or mass).
      It just so happens that the Higgs Boson can also interact with itself, giving itself mass. Mass is really just the effect we see when things interact with the Higgs boson. The more a particle can interact with the Higgs boson, the greater it’s mass. Technically, mass is in fact just the strength with which a particle interacts with the Higgs boson.