So I was at a July 4 picnic on Wednesday where one of the other guests used to be a physics teacher at Stuyvesant High School, and he explained this whole Higgs boson thing to me in a way that made it make about as much sense as it’s going to for someone who only took physics in college. And he did the whole thing without using food metaphors — molasses, soup, etc. — which I thought was impressive.
Basically, it’s like this: Sub-atomic particles are either fermions or bosons. Fermions are the things you learned about in high school physics — electrons, protons, neutrons and so on — that share the quality that you can’t have two of them in the same space on an atom. Think of them as the billiard balls: they can be all over the table, but not in the same space at the same time, and where they go is determined by the size of the tables. Most of the widely-known fermions are composites made up of other categories of sub-atomic particles, like quarks (which combine to form protons) and leptons, but the most important thing to know about them for the purposes of this discussion is that they are considered the matter particles.
Bosons are different.
via The Atlantic