Current theories to describe the fundamental forces and particles of nature rely on beautiful symmetries known as gauge symmetries. These aren't easy to describe, but the renowned physicist Juan Maldacena, of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, has developed a great analogy: he thinks of space as a grid of countries and of particles as travellers keen on making money by speculating with currencies.
In this public lecture from the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, Juan Maldacena describes the theoretical ideas, developed in the 1960s and '70s, that led to the prediction of the Higgs boson. Using his elegantly simple economic analogy, Maldacena explains why the Higgs mechanism is necessary to avoid some of the naive consequences of these symmetries and to explain various features of elementary particles.
You can read more about this in our collection of articles exploring and explaining the analogy Stuff happens: From finance to fundamental physics.