What is the Higgs boson?

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Since the discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson yesterday, a lot of people have been trying to work out what exactly it is. Scientists at CERN presented their findings in a highly technical presentation — despite being written in Comic Sans, it went over the heads of much of the assembled scientific press, not to mention the thousands of amateurs following the announcement via Twitter and the livestream. Thankfully, experts around the world and across the internet have taken it upon themselves to enlighten the particle-watching public — here are our four favourite explanations.

1. The Guardian's science correspondent Ian Sample uses ping pong balls, sugar and a tray from the cafeteria to provide a surprisingly clear summary of the basics.

2. A more straight-laced but no less compelling video explanation is given by Don Lincoln at Fermilab, America's equivalent of the LHC.

3. PHD Comics's Jorge Cham offers an illustrated talk in the style of the RSA Animate series.

4. An oldie but a goodie — CERN scientists explain the Large Hadron Collider through the medium of, erm, rap. Physics aside, it's actually a pretty solid beat, making good use of the classic Woo! Yeah! sample.

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