Research Highlight

Where does mass come from?

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.305 Published online 30 September 2009

Mass and force of gravity determine weight. But where does mass come from? New computer-based models might now provide clues to origins of 'Higgs boson', particles that give other particles mass1.

The Standard Model of the fundamental particles says mass is due to a new field, named the Higgs field. The Higgs field also permeates all of space. According to the theory, if there were no Higgs field, the fundamental particles would have no mass. What we recognize as mass is, in part, the effect of the interaction between particles and Higgs field.

Photons do not interact with the Higgs field and so are massless; the W and Z bosons (particles that obey Bose-Einstein statistics) do interact and thereby acquire their large masses. The building blocks of matter, the quarks and leptons, are also presumed to gain their masses by interacting with the Higgs field.

The researchers developed the models keeping in mind the particle decays at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, Geneva.

Simulation studies show that even at an early phase of the LHC-run under favourable conditions, the imprint of masses can be seen by reconstructing Higgs boson resonances and comparing their rates.


  1. Bandyopadhyay, P. et al. Probing non-universal gaugino masses via Higgs boson production under SUSY cascades at the LHC: a detailed study. J. High. Energ. Phys. JHEP07 (2009)