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Online course

The Discovery of the Higgs Boson

Should we be excited about the Higgs boson? Find out more about particle physics and understanding the universe.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

The Discovery of the Higgs Boson

Why join the course?

The discovery of a new fundamental particle at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CERN is the latest step in a long quest seeking to answer one of physics’ most enduring questions: why do particles have mass? The experiments’ much anticipated success confirms predictions made decades earlier by Peter Higgs and others, and offers a glimpse into a universe of physics beyond the Standard Model.

As Professor Peter Higgs continues his inspiring role at Edinburgh University’s School of Physics & Astronomy, the experiments at the LHC continue.

This free online course introduces the theoretical tools needed to appreciate the discovery, and presents the elementary particles that have been discovered at the tiniest scales ever explored. Beginning with basic concepts in classical mechanics, the story unfolds through relativity and quantum mechanics, describing forces, matter and the unification of theories with an understanding driven by the tools of mathematics.

Narrating the journey through experimental results which led to the discovery in 2012, the course invites you to learn from a team of world-class physicists at Edinburgh University. Learners participate in discussion of the consequences of the Higgs boson, to physics and cosmology, and towards a stronger understanding and new description of the universe.

Photo of Professor Higgs © Peter Tuffy, The University of Edinburgh

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Theoretical description of physical phenomena
  • From Maxwell to Einstein: the world at the atomic scale
  • A theory of matter and light
  • From QED to QCD and the weak force
  • The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism and the Standard Model
  • Experimental evidence for the Standard Model
  • Beyond the Standard Model

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Discuss fundamental building blocks of the Standard Model
  • Explore Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity
  • Describe elementary Particle Physics

Who is the course for?

The course for its most part requires a basic level of mathematical skills, at the level of a final-year school pupil.

Some of the video lectures are significantly more advanced and include University-level math material. However, people encountering difficulties with the most advanced material should still be able to answer the quizzes and complete the course successfully. A basic knowledge of physics is helpful, but not required.

Who will you learn with?

Christos Leonidopoulos

Particle Physics: Electroweak Symmetry-Breaking mechanism, Exotica searches, hadron-collider triggers, future colliders.

Luigi Del Debbio

Professor of Theoretical Physics

Who developed the course?

Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top universities and is globally recognised for research, innovation and high-quality teaching.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £69.00

Statement of Participation £39.00

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Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.