As part of my studies at university, I am doing a project that aims to understand the foundations of the Higgs Mechanism and to ultimately attempt to convey it to an audience in a non technical manner. I am looking for some assistance in finding resources that may help me.

The project aims to understand local gauge invariance and how it leads to massless gauge fields (as in electrodynamics), spontaneous symmetry breaking and how it leads to massless Goldstone bosons, and how the Higgs mechanism combines the two eliminating both kinds of massless particles. I have been told classical abelian field theory should be okay for the majority of this, but that some QFT would be insightful in places.

  • $\begingroup$ This paper has exactly what you're looking for: arxiv.org/abs/1207.2146 (Unveiling the Higgs mechanism to students by Giovanni Organtini) $\endgroup$ – noir1993 Oct 19 '14 at 19:15

Griffiths has a quite good book, Introduction to Elementary Particles. The last chapter (I believe only in the revised edition) is all about gauge theories and culminates in the Higgs mechanism. This book can be read with just a bit of E&M, though a good deal of quantum mechanics will make the reading much quicker. Many of the specific examples can be skipped if you are reading it only for such a specific purpose, though they will of course help with your overall understanding.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree, that's an excellent book to get a 30,000 foot overview without being overwhelmed by the math. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne Oct 17 '14 at 22:50

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