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Higgs boson

The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of Particle physics. Its main relevance is that it is the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field – a field that unlike the more familiar electromagnetic field cannot be "turned off", but instead takes a constant value almost everywhere. The presence of this field explains why some fundamental particles have mass while the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force.

Despite being present everywhere, the existence of the Higgs field has been very hard to confirm, because it is extremely hard to create excitations (i.e. Higgs particles). The search for this elusive particle has taken more than 40 years and led to the construction of one of the world's most expensive and complex experimental facilities to date, the Large Hadron Collider, able to create Higgs bosons and other particles for observation and study. On 4 July 2012, the discovery of a new particle with a mass between 125 and 127 GeV/c2 was announced; physicists suspected that it was the Higgs boson. By March 2013, the particle had been proven to behave, interact and decay in many of the ways predicted by the Standard Model, and was also tentatively confirmed to have positive parity and zero spin, two fundamental attributes of a Higgs boson. This appears to be the first elementary scalar particle discovered in nature. More data is needed to know if the discovered particle exactly matches the predictions of the Standard Model, or whether, as predicted by some theories, multiple Higgs bosons exist.

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