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Fireworks on the 4th of July
Physicists applaud the Higgs boson news at the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne (July 4, 2012).
A neon sign showing an actual event recorded by ATLAS, which might reflect the decay of a Higgs boson into four muons, shown in neon. The other particles are shown in the background.
A cartoon helps to understand the Higgs mechanism. (a) Imagine that a room full of physicists chattering quietly is like space filled with the Higgs field (top left). A well-known scientist walks in (top center), creating a disturbance as he moves across the room and attracting a cluster of admirers with each step (top right). This cluster of admirers increases his resistance to movement; in other words, he acquires mass, just like a particle moving through the Higgs field. (b) On the other hand, if a rumor crosses the room (bottom left), it creates the same kind of clustering, but this time among the scientists themselves (bottom right). In this analogy, these clusters are the Higgs particles. © 1996 CERN. We thank CERN for the use of these images and text; the concept was inspired by Professor David J. Miller of University College London.
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