Why the Higgs Boson Matters
Winner of the Imperial College Science Challenge essay contest in physics … great read on why seeking out the Higgs is so important.
Have you ever contemplated why you weigh what you do? I am not alluding to the second doughnut you had the other morning, or the ill-advised chips on the way home from the pub, but rather the fundamental reason why the atoms that make up your body, and everything else in the world, have a certain mass. If you haven’t, you are not alone — until recently, scientists hadn’t thought much about it either.
Before the standard model of particle physics came along, the origin of mass was not even considered a problem; that an object had mass was simply assumed. But when scientists began probing objects at smaller and smaller scales, they discovered that it was not quite as simple as that: according to the standard model, fundamental particles should weigh nothing at all.
(via Scientific American Blog Network, image of theoretical Higgs event via Wikimedia)