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The Higgs Boson
The Higgs boson is an elementary particle that makes up the Higgs field, which is the reason matter has mass. It was theorized in 1964 and tentatively confirmed to exist after a series of experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider. The Higgs boson is very unstable and decays into other particles almost immediately, which is why it was so hard to find.
I saw her—the Higgs boson, and when I saw her, I wanted to understand her.
I saw her twice. The first time I saw her was at the beginning of time, when the universe was just about to burst to life. Everything was condensed into a single point and I remember that it was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. Hydrogen’s ass was pressed against my face and everyone knows that he has a gas problem. He farted constantly and the fumes were making me dizzy so I inched my face away from his ass and found myself pressed against a beautiful woman.
I will always remember her eyes. They were blue, but they were not clear. In fact, they might have been green—they were the type of eyes that seemed to change color all the time. When I saw her though, her eyes were blue and cloudy like the sky. I could not penetrate her, but she penetrated me. If I had any secrets, she knew them.
However, we only looked into each other’s eyes for a few seconds. She turned her face away from me, a curtain of black hair hiding her eyes from mine.
“Who are you?” I asked. Of course, I wasn’t asking for her name because none of us had names back then. At the time, I only knew that I thought so therefore I existed. Of course, there was no language either because everything had just begun to have meaning.
So how did I ask the question? I felt it, and when I felt it, she understood it. It was a strange sort of telepathy because only she could understand me. If she replied, I never understood it and right after I asked the question, she and everyone else, including Hydrogen and his ass, exploded.
I remember it was like being in the middle of a Fourth of July firework. Everything exploded and dispersed into a million, billion sparks except for me. I was the only one who remained whole.
I was sad because I had lost her—the Higgs boson—and I thought I would never see her again. I only saw her once and in that moment she permeated my soul and the only three things I could tell you about myself at that time was that I could think, that I existed, and that I wanted desperately to find the Higgs boson again so I could understand her.
At that moment though, I was just someone in the middle of an expanding universe that was much bigger than me. The only thing that kept me from going crazy and feeling alone was her—the Higgs boson. So I went on a quest to find her.
Everywhere I went, I could sense her, but I only saw her within my mind. I knew she defined me, but I soon came to realize that she defined everything else too. I could not see her though, I could only imagine and that led me to believe that I was imagined too. Do I think? Do I exist?
I knew she existed though, and that she gave me meaning so therefore I existed too. If I believed that she did not exist, then my life would cease to have meaning, so I searched for her over the billions of years. I visited countless galaxies, planets, and stars, but I could not find her. Finally, I decided to rest for about a million years or so on Earth, and it was there that I would see her again.
I was at the Large Hadron Collider because I was intrigued by this question that Peter Higgs asked: why does matter have mass? I wanted see if he could answer this question and it was at the Large Hadron Collider that this question was answered.
The LHC was like a fighting ring for particles, and the scientists studied what happened when particles collided into each other. I was there observing all of this chaos, looking for what Peter Higgs called the Higgs boson and many others called the God particle.
I saw her for a fraction of a second. She appeared and disappeared with the blink of an eye. The image of her was so fleeting that anyone could have claimed that I imagined her. I knew I didn’t though because it was so clearly her. She still had the same cloudy, blue-green eyes and the curtain of black hair. After billions of years searching for her, I had found her and lost her.
I soon realized that the Higgs boson didn’t want to be seen and she didn’t want to be understood. She carried the entire universe, but she didn’t want anyone to carry her, and I didn’t know why she would want that. I wouldn’t be able to carry the universe for her, but I could carry the fact that she is carrying the universe. She gave me meaning and I wanted desperately to be able to give her meaning too.
I sank into this deep depression, and for billions of years, I wandered around the universe without purpose. However, at the end of the Stelliferous era and the beginning of the Degenerative era, I realized that I had to get over the Higgs boson. Nothing lasts forever, not even the stars, so I better see and do everything before the universe came to an end. There were two brothers—Entropy and Time, and they were slowly killing the universe one star at a time.
As I travelled the universe learning and creating, all of the stars dimmed and flickered out one by one. All that remained of the bonfire was a few dead and dying embers. I thought I was giving my life meaning by creating and learning about beautiful things, but I soon realized that my meaning would eventually die with the rest of the universe.
When the last star died, my meaning sank into black holes and so did everybody else’s meaning. The universe floated further down the river Lethe until everything sank down the ultimate black hole—oblivion. All information was lost and I sat on a dry husk of a planet, or at least I think it was a planet. Everything was dark, full dark, and there were no stars, no light, just awareness.
I remembered the Higgs boson and how I thought she gave everything meaning. Now I realized that she didn’t. Mass is not meaning and neither is existence. The only reason she still existed was because I was here, floating in the darkness and aware about the past and present.
I could see her face so clearly even though it was dark. Her black hair was pulled back, showing blue-green eyes that were no longer cloudy, and she was smiling. We embraced each other and when the universe fell into the perfect darkness that was Heat Death, we still didn’t let go.