How many fundamental particles make all what exists in the universe? In our college days electrons, protons and neutrons were considered the fundamental particles making up the atoms.
Atoms combined with each other according to some rules to make molecules which are the building blocks of the universe. As the research to probe into the heart of these fundamental particles advanced with the advent of high speed particle colliders, it has been found that itis after all not as simple as it looks.
Only electron withstood the test of being the fundamental particle. It was shown that neutrons and protons are formed from other particles which have been observed in these particle smashers. We now know that protons and neutrons can be formed from two fundamental particles called up and down quarks. So along with electrons, all that is present can be made from up and down quarks.
But till date 12 fundamental particles have been discovered. So what are these needed for. Whether it is finally 12 or any number is also a guess because theories can get shattered by the availability of more powerful smashers.
It is known that energy and mass are the two sides of the same coin. From the mass we can create energy and vice versa. How particles get different masses?
It was proposed that space is filled with a energy field called Higgs field. If we consider it was water in a container for analogy then it is continuous with break. Water is made of molecules of water which is H2O. These molecules fill all the space occupied by water. It means water molecule is smallest unit .
By analogy smallest unit of energy or the particles which make the Higgs field are called Higgs Boson. It is this field which gives the particles their different masses which represent the extent of its interaction with the field.
In the particle accelerators, atoms moving almost at 99% or more the speed of light are collided with each other. They get converted into energy field. This energy field then gets converted into numerous sub atomic particles which are recorded.
It is hoped that out of these particles, the Higgs Boson will show up. At least CERN which is doing the research with giant colliders having perimeters of almost 22 kilometers announced that they have observed a particle which is most like the Higgs Boson.
Efforts will continue. Since this particle which stands as the central entity in the Standard Model which is currently the most successful system to explain the existence of the sub atomic particles, will be successfully discovered. Since it is so elusive , it has been nicknamed the “God Particle”