Michael Slezak

Journalist

The tiny thing that makes all other tiny things heavy

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Here’s my attempt to explain the Higgs boson using only the 1000 most common English words. It’s jumping on the #upgoerfive meme.

The tiny thing that makes all other tiny things heavy.

When things are broken up into smaller and smaller things, eventually you get down to the very smallest things in the world. There are 61 of these tiniest things, which together make everything in the world.

People have wondered, though, what makes these tiny things heavy? Bigger things become heavy by being made of these tiny things. But what makes the tiniest things heavy?

The best guess explained this by saying that all around us is a field, which is a bit like water or some other stuff that would slow you down if you tried to walk through it. But in this field, some things move really easily, and others have a lot of trouble. The harder it is for one of these tiny things to move through the field, then, the heavier that thing is. So, if one moves through the world without even noticing the water-like-stuff (the field), then it turns out not to be heavy at all. If it has a lot of trouble, then it’s really heavy.

But until last year, people weren’t completely sure this field was real. But they knew that if it was real, and you shook it really hard, then a totally new tiny thing would fall out of it. That’s because it’s a bit like the water-like-stuff is made out of this new tiny thing.

So if they could find this new tiny thing, they could be pretty sure that the water-like-stuff was all around us, making all the tiny things heavy.

It took a lot of money and years of work, but last year they found this totally new tiny thing. Now they are pretty sure that all tiny things are heavy because they are moving through water-like stuff (a field) that is all around us.

All because of one tiny little thing.

I used this very clever text-editor that only lets you use the 1000 most common English words.

Here’s the thing that started this whole meme off.

If you want to read some stuff I’ve written about the Higgs boson using more words, go here.

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January 19th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

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