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The Discovery of the Higgs Boson

3. Classical Electromagnetism and Relativity

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In this mini-lecture, we recall important ideas in classical electromagnetism and relativity that will help build a foundation in our understanding of physics before moving onto discussing High Energy Physics. As we move through this mini-lecture, we consider: (i) electric and magnetic fields; (ii) static and dynamic charges, where in the dynamic case we see that the time-varying electric field generates a magnetic field and forms bundles of light (photons); (iii) particle interaction via the exchange of photons; (iv) the Special Theory of Relativity in a nutshell, where we discuss the speed of light, time, reference frames, spacetime as a 4D object, Lorentz transformations, and the relationship between energy and mass; (v) an example of Einstein’s equation, E = mc2, where we see that adding energy to a system increases the mass; and (vi) an example involving the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.


In this course, Dr Frank Taylor (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) explains what the Higgs Boson is and how it was discovered. In the first mini-lecture, we give a general introduction to the Higgs Boson, discussing the significance of it’s discovery and the important role it plays in the Standard Model. In the second mini-lecture, we introduce the units and important constants used in High Energy Physics, including the units of electronvolts for energy, Planck’s constant, and units of barns for scattering cross sections. In the third mini-lecture, we review classical electromagnetism and Special Relativity before exploring High Energy Physics, in particular the forces of nature, in the fourth mini-lecture. The fifth mini-lecture discusses the elementary particles that make up the Standard Model and looks at how the Higgs Boson interacts with other fundamental particles. Finally, the sixth mini-lecture describes the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the ATLAS experiment that detected the Higgs Boson, and the data itself.


Frank Taylor is a Senior Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research interests are in precision tests of the electroweak sector of the Standard Model, particularly exploring experimentally electroweak symmetry breaking and physics beyond the Standard Model. Since 1994, he has been a collaborator on the ATLAS Detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where theory such as electroweak symmetry breaking, supersymmetry, and the possibility of unifying gravity with other forces through large extra dimensions are addressed. Discovering ‘new physics’ involves the detection of leptons, such as muons. Dr Taylor has collaborated on the design and construction of the ATLAS muons system and was the project leader of the US ATLAS Muon effort.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Taylor, F. (2022, January 13). The Discovery of the Higgs Boson - Classical Electromagnetism and Relativity [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Taylor, Frank. "The Discovery of the Higgs Boson – Classical Electromagnetism and Relativity." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2022,

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