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The Discovery of the Higgs Boson

2. The Units of High Energy Physics

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In this mini-lecture, we discuss the units used in High Energy Physics, focusing in particular on: (i) the units of electronvolts (eV) used for energy; (ii) the relationship among mass, energy, and linear momentum; (iii) angular momentum and Planck’s constant (h); (iv) how physicist Max Planck helped us better understand blackbody radiation with the revolutionary idea that light comes in discrete bundles of energy; (v) scattering cross sections of a material, which is measured in units of barns; and (vi) Heisenberg’s 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 - The Units of High Energy Physics [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Taylor, Frank. "The Discovery of the Higgs Boson – The Units of High Energy Physics." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2022,

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