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Thread: Higgs field?

  1. #1
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    Higgs field?

    OK... so from what I have gathered, the Higgs field is a (not yet observed?) field that permeates space, which essentially gives mass to all particles that have mass. Particles that interact strongly with the higgs field have higher mass than ones that don't. Does that sound roughly right?

    If that's true... then where does space-time itself come into it? Massive objects make bigger 'dents' in spacetime, right? When we're talking about the higgs field, does that replace spacetime as a concept, or is it another layer between the object and spacetime itself?

    And would the the Higgs field just basically comprised of lots of higgs bosons flying around? Could Dark Matter be related to the Higgs field?

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    anybody?

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    I can't believe that nobody knows anything about this at all...

    Though I guess answer to my first question is simple - to make a dent in spacetime you need mass, and to have mass you need to be interacting with the higgs field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    OK... so from what I have gathered, the Higgs field is a (not yet observed?) field that permeates space, which essentially gives mass to all particles that have mass. Particles that interact strongly with the higgs field have higher mass than ones that don't. Does that sound roughly right?
    Seems about right.

    If that's true... then where does space-time itself come into it? Massive objects make bigger 'dents' in spacetime, right? When we're talking about the higgs field, does that replace spacetime as a concept, or is it another layer between the object and spacetime itself?
    In my conception, the Higgs field pervades the entire spacetime.

    And would the the Higgs field just basically comprised of lots of higgs bosons flying around?
    Sounds right.

    Could Dark Matter be related to the Higgs field?
    Here were walking on slippery ground.

    This subject is really arid, and even professionals are struggling to understand the Higgs mechanism.

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    Thanks... yeah, it's a weird concept to get one's head around. For one thing, where do these higgs bosons come from in the first place? Can they be destroyed or created or transformed into anything else?

    It's all starting to get a bit clunky I think... we have the higgs field, the 'quantum foam', space-time, and folded up dimensions all being proposed essentially as 'what the base reality of the universe is ultimately made of'. Can all these concepts co-exist in the same paradigm?

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    It's not my specialty, so I don't know a whole lot about it. But remember that looking at things in a Higgs sort of way is quantum theory, and looking at things in a spacectime way is general relativity. There's no easy way to get them to match up unless we can develop a quantum theory of gravity. So the fact that the two ways of visualizing the situation are incompatible isn't too surprising, really.

    As for the Higgs boson, it's like the photon and electromagnetism, more or less. You can either choose to talk about the electric field and the way it interacts with other particles and influences them, or if you'd like to explore it on a quantum level, you can talk about interactions with individual photons or virtual photons. You're free to take either a field view or a particle view, and which we do depends on what kind of problem we're trying to solve. In the same way, you can either look at the Higgs interaction as being a field or a particle, and which you depends on what you're working on.

    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_
    Could Dark Matter be related to the Higgs field?
    At the very least, since dark matter has mass, it should interact with the Higgs field. It might certainly be tied even more closely than that. Notice that in particular the Higgs doesn't interact with massless particles, like photons, which is something very like the behavior of dark matter. I don't think it's possible for dark matter to simply be the Higgs boson, though, but I confess that I don't know the details of why not.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    It's all starting to get a bit clunky I think... we have the higgs field, the 'quantum foam', space-time, and folded up dimensions all being proposed essentially as 'what the base reality of the universe is ultimately made of'. Can all these concepts co-exist in the same paradigm?
    Quantum foam is a result of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. As part of the Standard Model, it would also be encompassed by String Theory. The Higgs boson supports the Supersymmetric standard model, which in turn supports String Theory. Seems to me they can, assuming String Theory finally gets confirmation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    Thanks... yeah, it's a weird concept to get one's head around. For one thing, where do these higgs bosons come from in the first place?
    They are related to W and Z particles.

    Can they be destroyed or created or transformed into anything else?
    Yes, they could decay into other particles. Some postulate in favor of a variety of Higgs bosons and new types of interactions.

    It's all starting to get a bit clunky I think... we have the higgs field, the 'quantum foam', space-time, and folded up dimensions all being proposed essentially as 'what the base reality of the universe is ultimately made of'. Can all these concepts co-exist in the same paradigm?
    The ultimate objective of physics is to unify all these concepts, so they can exist in the same paradigm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey View Post
    At the very least, since dark matter has mass, it should interact with the Higgs field. It might certainly be tied even more closely than that. Notice that in particular the Higgs doesn't interact with massless particles, like photons, which is something very like the behavior of dark matter. I don't think it's possible for dark matter to simply be the Higgs boson, though, but I confess that I don't know the details of why not.
    Does anyone know if the Higgs bosons supposed to be able to interact with eachother though?

    And to clarify... dark matter is affected by the gravity of normal matter, right? But does dark matter have its own gravity too? (it's got mass, right?).

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    The Higgs is a boson and bosons have zero rest mass. The exception is when interactions with the Higgs boson gives mass to them, eg the W bosons. So for the Higgs to have mass requires Higgs self-interaction. Here is one paper on the subject.

    The above example also puts paid to Grey's statement that the Higgs does not interact with massless particles. Take a look at the Wiki for the electroweak interaction, particularly the formulation of the Higgs Lagrangian in the "After Electroweak Symmetry Breaking" section.

    As for DM, the whole point of it is that it is massive, ins't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by loglo View Post
    As for DM, the whole point of it is that it is massive, ins't it?
    Well, that's what I wasn't sure about. I kinda thought that DM was "gravity without visible mass" - to me at least, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's something physical there that's got mass, it just means that there's a gravitational field that corresponds to a given mass that we can't detect by any other means.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    And to clarify... dark matter is affected by the gravity of normal matter, right? But does dark matter have its own gravity too? (it's got mass, right?).
    Yes and yes.

    • And both normal matter and dark matter are affected by the gravity of dark matter.
    • But normal, or baryonic, matter tends to clump into stars and planets because it interacts not only gravitationally, but also electromagnetically.
    • Dark matter apparently does not interact electromagnetically, just gravitationally, and maybe rarely via the weak interaction.
    • So while gravity can pull dark matter together, since it doesn't even interact with itself there's nothing to stop it from continuing right through any higher gravity region, until that gravity slows it and pulls it back.

    Well, that's my conceptual model, anyway.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    Well, that's what I wasn't sure about. I kinda thought that DM was "gravity without visible mass" - to me at least, that doesn't necessarily mean that there's something physical there that's got mass, it just means that there's a gravitational field that corresponds to a given mass that we can't detect by any other means.

    Yeah, mass is not as easy a concept as it used to be. Try wrapping your head around Majorana mass! I think Cougar has DM right though.

  14. 2010-Feb-13, 06:33 AM

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    OK... If that's true... then where does space-time itself come into it? Massive objects make bigger 'dents' in spacetime, right? When we're talking about the higgs field, does that replace spacetime as a concept, or is it another layer between the object and spacetime itself?
    EDG..its Funny.. When I am jogging in the quietness of the morning, I also get these crazy brainstorms too. I figure that spacetime and the higgs field maybe one in the same. There is some sort of connection between the "dents" in spacetime from gravity (GR) and a moving mass accumulating more mass creating a "dent" as well (SR).. however, dark matter is coming into play offering us different math for SR vs. GR. Crazy?

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    I'm not sure though having thought about it more... it seems as if objects with mass make dents in spacetime, which is how we get gravity. But to get mass, they have to interact with the higgs field. So it seems that you need to have the higgs field to have mass, and spacetime to have gravity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    I'm not sure though having thought about it more... it seems as if objects with mass make dents in spacetime, which is how we get gravity. But to get mass, they have to interact with the higgs field. So it seems that you need to have the higgs field to have mass, and spacetime to have gravity.
    This is where the limits of analogies come into play. The dents in space-time analogy only applies whey you are looking at gravity as modeled by GR. GR uses a pseudo Riemann manifold to model space-time. Those dents are how the Ricci Curvature tensor change the shape of that manifold. The values of the Ricci Curvature Tensor are determined by the values of the Stress-energy Tensor, along with the other constants in the Einstein Field equations. No where in all that is there anything to do with the Higgs field.

    Now, the Higgs field is a requirement of the breaking of the electro-weak symmetry. The weak interactions should have a massless particle, like the EM force does. However, we knew that it didn't, simply because of the amount of time it took for the interactions of the weak force to occur. Physicists found they could combine the weak and the EM force, and use symmetry breaking to separate out the two forces, but to do that, they needed a another particle to give mass to the mediating boson for the weak force. They also found that there should be three of that type of boson. Those three were found. The W+, W-, for charged particles and the Z0 for neutral currents. You will note that no where in there is there anything about space-time.

    To get a coherent theory will take a quantum theory that includes gravity. When, and if, that happens, the dent in space-time picture would probably go away, as gravity would then be described as a particle interaction. So I wouldn't get too worked up over Higgs - Space-time conundrums.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    Does anyone know if the Higgs bosons supposed to be able to interact with eachother though?
    Yes, Higgs have mass, so they do interact with each other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tensor View Post
    To get a coherent theory will take a quantum theory that includes gravity. When, and if, that happens, the dent in space-time picture would probably go away, as gravity would then be described as a particle interaction. So I wouldn't get too worked up over Higgs - Space-time conundrums.
    Which is a shame, as the 'dent in spacetime' analogy is a really nice one to use to illustrate things . Still... a higgs field that sticks to stuff to give it mass also works quite well.

    How is that interaction between Higgs field and normal matter supposed to work though?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    Which is a shame, as the 'dent in spacetime' analogy is a really nice one to use to illustrate things . Still... a higgs field that sticks to stuff to give it mass also works quite well.

    How is that interaction between Higgs field and normal matter supposed to work though?
    All particles are supposedly without mass in the Standard Model.

    A Higgs field consisting of Higgs bosons pervades spacetime. The photon which travels at c is not affected by the field, but all other elementary particles which are slower than c, interact with the field, giving them mass.

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    But Tensor mentioned that the higgs bosons themselves have mass...

    Odd thought - if you were to somehow isolate one higgs boson from the rest of the higgs bosons, would that isolated higgs boson still have mass? What if you just had two on their own, could they give eachother mass? How many do you need to give something mass?

    And if it's called a Higgs field, then that implies it's generated somewhere (like a magnet or electric current generates a magnetic field, or a mass generates a gravitational field). So what's making the Higgs field?

    And the obvious implication (to me) is that if Higgs particles have mass, and they pervade the entire universe, then how much of the universe's mass to they represent themselves? How can they NOT be Dark Matter if they have to be present everywhere in order to give normal matter mass?

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    It is postulated that the Higgs bosons are very heavy, perhaps around 110 GeV. The heavier they are the quicker they decay, making them very hard to detect.

    The Higgs field is a field of virtual Higgs bosons, as far as I have read...

    The LHC generates high energy proton collisions, and hopefully if the collision is on target, will create an extremely short-lived, heavy Higgs boson, which immediately deteriorates into other particles.

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    In respect to the Higgs boson and Dark Matter:

    http://www.hep.yorku.ca/what_is_higgs.html

    The Higgs bosons may also directly affect the amount of dark matter in the universe.
    The masses of the quarks themselves, however, and also the mass of the electron, are entirely caused by the Higgs field. Those masses would vanish without the Higgs. Last, but certainly not least, most of the amount of superpartner masses, and therefore the mass of the dark matter particle (if it is indeed the lightest superpartner), comes from additional interactions beyond the basic Higgs one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    Which is a shame, as the 'dent in spacetime' analogy is a really nice one to use to illustrate things . Still... a higgs field that sticks to stuff to give it mass also works quite well.

    How is that interaction between Higgs field and normal matter supposed to work though?
    Same as any other boson. Except the higgs is a vector boson. here is the explanation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    OK... so from what I have gathered, the Higgs field is a (not yet observed?) field that permeates space, which essentially gives mass to all particles that have mass.
    Sorry for not answering earlier, I was in Dubai relaxing.

    As to the above point, I'd say that that's not really how it is envisaged.

    Before the Higgs was posited, we had a model that combined the electroweak sector of the standard model, but it came out predicting zero mass for the intermediate vector bosons. Adding an extra term, the Higgs Field, allowed the scheme to work with the particles' observed masses, but added the wrinkle that a new particle was needed to make it all work, the Higgs Boson.

    The Higgs field, should it prove to exist, is quantised. Just as the photon is the quantum of the electromagnetic field, so the Higgs is the quantum of the Higgs field.

    They can most definitely be created, and destroyed. My doctorate was on the search for them at the LHC, were we hope to create them in proton-proton collisions, and where we hope to identify them by sifting through their decay products, as they are too short lived to observe directly.

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    NorthernBoy,
    Since you are lucky enough to be working in this field, a question: does the Higgs field consist of virtual Higgs bosons?

    Why are high energy proton-proton collisions supposed to create a Higgs boson? And why must it be a really precise collision? Is it a head-on quark collision?

    Thanks...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    It is postulated that the Higgs bosons are very heavy, perhaps around 110 GeV. The heavier they are the quicker they decay, making them very hard to detect.
    If they decay so quickly, are they decaying into stuff that we can't see? I would have thought we would be seeing their decay products all the time at least?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    If they decay so quickly, are they decaying into stuff that we can't see? I would have thought we would be seeing their decay products all the time at least?
    As I understand it, when actual real Higgs bosons, they decay into known particles. However, virtual particles do not decay, they annihilate each other like any other virtual particle.

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    So... we can only make the higgs bosons 'real' via very high energy particle collisions? Otherwise I would have thought we'd see their decay products if there were 'actual' Higgs particles flying around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG_ View Post
    So... we can only make the higgs bosons 'real' via very high energy particle collisions? Otherwise I would have thought we'd see their decay products if there were 'actual' Higgs particles flying around.
    That's what I thought, but NorthenBoy might know better...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernBoy View Post
    They can most definitely be created, and destroyed. My doctorate was on the search for them at the LHC, were we hope to create them in proton-proton collisions, and where we hope to identify them by sifting through their decay products, as they are too short lived to observe directly.
    If we haven't detected them yet, how do you know whether they can be created or destroyed? (I have to admit I'm kinda fuzzy on what "virtual particles" even are in this context, are they being spontaneously created and destroyed or something, like particle-pairs? This sounds like an excuse to have something that conveniently exists when needed and doesn't exist when not needed).

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