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Published on Nov 2, 2010
The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. At present there are no known elementary scalar bosons (spin-0 particles) in nature, although many composite spin-0 particles are known. The existence of the particle is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in current theoretical physics, and attempts are being made to confirm the existence of the particle by experimentation, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the Tevatron at Fermilab. Other theories exist that do not anticipate the Higgs boson, described elsewhere as the Higgsless model.
The Higgs boson is the only Standard Model particle that has not been observed and is thought to be the mediator of mass. Experimental detection of the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass in the universe. The Higgs boson would explain the difference between the massless photon, which mediates electromagnetism, and the massive W and Z bosons, which mediate the weak force. If the Higgs boson exists, it is an integral and pervasive component of the material world.
Arguments based on the Standard Model suggest the mass of the Higgs is below 1.4 TeV. Therefore the Large Hadron Collider is expected to provide experimental evidence of the existence or non-existence of the Higgs boson. Experiments at Fermilab also continue previous attempts at detection, albeit hindered by the lower energy of the Tevatron accelerator, although it theoretically has the necessary energy to produce the Higgs boson. It has been reported that Fermilab physicists suggest that the odds of the Tevatron detecting the Higgs boson, if indeed it exists, are between 50% and 96%, depending on its mass.[