Higgs mechanism

The Higgs mechanism, named for Peter Higgs but actually proposed independently by several different groups of physicists in the early 1960s, is a theoretical framework that explains how fundamental particles acquire mass. The Higgs field underwent a phase transition as the universe expanded and cooled, not unlike liquid water freezing into ice. The condensed Higgs field interacts with the different massive particles with different couplings, giving them their unique masses. This suggests that particles that we can measure to have various masses were massless in the early universe. Although the Higgs mechanism is an internally consistent theory that makes successful predictions about the masses of Standard Model particles, it has yet to be experimentally verified. The clearest signature of the Higgs mechanism would be the detection of a Higgs boson, the particle associated with vibrations of the Higgs field.