quality posts: 4
Oxirane wrote:I thought it was the carrier particle for mass?
Close, but not exactly. The best way to think of it is as follows:
The Higgs boson is the manifestation of the Higgs field, which is kind of like a cosmic molasses that exists everywhere in the universe. Relativity tells us that particles without mass must travel at the speed of light. This molasses slows certain particles down from the speed of light, which means they have inertia, or mass. Mass is important not only in gravitation, but at every level of physics. If protons and electrons were massless, and always traveled at lightspeed, atoms couldn't form, hence no solid matter.
Credentials: PhD student in particle physics, work for one of the LHC experiments.
Also, for the people who are still grinning over the visual double-entendre, this t-shirt might interest you: ;)
My avatar wears a fez now. Fezzes are cool.