What is Higgs field: Definition and 147 Discussions

The Higgs boson is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics produced by the quantum excitation of the Higgs field, one of the fields in particle physics theory. In the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a massive scalar boson with zero spin, no electric charge, and no colour charge. It is also very unstable, decaying into other particles almost immediately.
It is named after physicist Peter Higgs, who in 1964 along with five other scientists proposed the Higgs mechanism to explain why some particles have mass. (Particles acquire mass in several ways, but a full explanation for all particles had been extremely difficult.) This mechanism required that a spinless particle known as a boson should exist with properties as described by the Higgs Mechanism theory. This particle was called the Higgs boson. A subatomic particle with the expected properties was discovered in 2012 by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland. The new particle was subsequently confirmed to match the expected properties of a Higgs boson.
On 10 December 2013, two of the physicists, Peter Higgs and François Englert, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their theoretical predictions. Although Higgs's name has come to be associated with this theory (the Higgs mechanism), several researchers between about 1960 and 1972 independently developed different parts of it.
In the mainstream media, the Higgs boson has often been called the "God particle" from the 1993 book The God Particle by Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, although the nickname is
not endorsed by many physicists.

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  1. E

    A Tunneling from a True Vacuum to a False One: Is it Possible for the Higgs Field?

    Could the Higgs field in a true vacuum tunnel to a false one? How much time would that process require?
  2. arivero

    I Is Connes' Model of the Higgs Field a Wormhole?

    As this week the great topic is the Einstein-Rosen bridge and duals of it, I wonder what happened with the interpretation of Connes NCG model as two sheets of spacetime whose separation is measured by the higgs field. How is it different of a ER bridge?
  3. JandeWandelaar

    A What is the cause of the Mexican hat potential of the Higgs field?

    The Higgs mechanism is an ingenious mechanism inspired by condensed state physics. The famous Mexican hat potential ensures a VEV value of about two times the mass of the Higgs particle (which, as an aside, is of comparable order as the W and Z vector bosons, the difference though is that its a...
  4. PainterGuy

    I Does the Higgs Field Consist of Higgs Bosons?

    Hi, I'd request you to keep it simple so it's accessible by a layman. Question 1: Is Higgs field made up of Higgs bosons? Higgs field has a positive value everywhere. Other fields such as electron field, hover around zero though virtual particles come into existence and decay almost...
  5. A

    B Higgs field and nuclear reactions

    What happens to the higgs field when say a fusion reaction occurs. Like if mass is converted into energy and the higgs field gives a particle mass what happens to higgs field. I doubt this, but is the higgs field the mechanism that converts mass into gamma rays. Go easy on me I only have a high...
  6. Tertius

    A Higgs field was zero right after Big Bang, could it return to zero?

    Quote from cern: "Just after the big bang, the Higgs field was zero, but as the universe cooled and the temperature fell below a critical value, the field grew spontaneously so that any particle interacting with it acquired a mass." Can it go back to zero? If anyone has a comment either way...
  7. P

    I Is the Higgs field in its present form phlogiston-like?

    Phlogiston lead to the discovery of oxygen but was later on proven to be imaginary. Can the same be said of the quite strange Higgs field and Higgs mechanism following from the strange Mexican hat potential? Is that potential just imaginary? It lead to the discovery of the eponimous particle...
  8. e2m2a

    A The Higgs Field, constant velocity, and the acceleration of particles

    I need some clarification on how the Higgs field work. The popular science explanation explains the effect on moving particles the way an object would be impacted by moving through a medium of maple syrup. I understand this is a very bad, inaccurate analogy. What I want to understand is does...
  9. L

    B How does the Higgs field “Give mass”?

    Problem Statement: How does the Higgs field “give mass” Relevant Equations: The exact way that particles interact with the Higgs field and therefore create mass. I’m trying to figure out how the Higgs field works, one problem is that while I originally though of the Higgs field like a medium...
  10. BadgerBadger92

    I Understanding Light, Mass & Higgs Field: Exploring Object Behaviour

    What happens to an object when you negate the Higgs field to give an object zero mass? Does it behave like light and travel instantly without force (or is there a gap here?) I heard if you took away mass from something like a baseball it would just float. How does this reconcile with the...
  11. Spinnor

    I A Fermion interacts with the Higgs field

    In a blog post of Matt Strassler we are told about the top quark, "when the Higgs field is not zero, its presence, and the fact that it has a direct interaction with the top-left and the top-right, forces the top-left to convert over to a top-right, and back again. How often does this happen...
  12. Hasan Delifer

    I Why Does Energy Have Mass? Exploring Quantum Field Theory

    Hey, first of all I apologize if this isn't the right thread because I was confused of where to put this. Recently I've learned about Quantum Field Theory and the Higgs Field. I kind of understand why the Higgs Field gives particles mass. From what I have learned it's because the field is...
  13. A

    A Exploring the Effects of a Decreasing Higgs Field on Universe Evolution

    I assume that before the Big Bang, there was no Higgs Field, since there was no universe for it to fill. I assume that at the moment of the Big Bang, it began to seep into every corner of the expanding universe and was carried by inflation, that is, moving faster than the speed of light by the...
  14. Pouya Pourkarim

    I Higgs Field and Inertia: Exploring the Relationship and Possible Explanations

    Is there any way to approach to some kind of explanation for inertia,from higgs field?
  15. ChrisVer

    A Is the Higgs Field Potential Still Symmetric Post-Electroweak Symmetry Breaking?

    Hi, a fast question... I was having somekind of a discussion, and I actually hit a dead end to the way I could explain my statement. I believe that after the Higgs Mechanism and SSB, the resulting potential of the Higgs Field should no longer be symmetric to rotations : I am saying this because...
  16. ryan liberty

    I Metastability of the Higgs field

    One current theory surrounding the higgs field is that it might be metastable, as in it acts stable but could (through quantum tunneling) drop it's energy level to become truly stable. This drop in energy would release all of the potential energy contained in the field. This is of course vacuum...
  17. J

    What Sci-Fi Stories Explore Harnessing the Higgs Field for Energy?

    What sci-fi story (tv, movies, etc.) has been written that involves tapping the higgs field? Do you know there is a constant 246 GeV everywhere.. our mass is only very very tiny portion occupying space so there is a great amount of untapped energy there... Our particles tap the energy of the...
  18. A

    I Higgs field and energy dependence?

    Hi all, Basic question that has caused me some confusion: is the Higgs interaction (giving some particles rest mass) energy dependent? (e.g., does the coupling vary with the kinetic energy of the particle involved) Thanks.
  19. M

    I Questions about the Higgs Field

    I've seen the same popular news articles everyone else has about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have always had some questions about it though that I haven't seen addressed, and I'm still beating my head against introductory QFT, so I'm not to the level where I'd pick up the answers from...
  20. B

    B What is source of fundamental particle charge?

    Hello, Analogous to mass of fundamental (not composite) particles coming from interaction of those particles with the Higg's Field, does charge of fundamental particles come from interaction of those particles with some known/hypothesized fundamental field? Thank you!
  21. robindymer

    B How does vibration affect the Higgs field interaction?

    I have been thinking about the Higgs field and how things interacts with it. I thought about why photons for example does not interact with it while quarks does. It could be because of the size and if when a particle is a certain size it will interact with the Higgs bosons and then slow down and...
  22. A

    I The Higgs field and boson - what's it's involvement in mass?

    Does the Higgs field give mass to particles unrelated to it? All particles with mass or some particles? Does the Higgs boson as such play a role in giving mass to other particles, or is the boson just a feature (excitation?) of the Higgs field? Can the Higgs boson be reasonably described as a...
  23. K

    I Higgs field couples to Planck quantum black holes?

    current proton decay experiments disfavor popular GUT like SU(5) Does the hiearchy problem for the higgs field require that the higgs couple to a GUT scale, if it exists, or to a Planck scale? does this require the higgs couples to Planck mass quantum mechanical black holes? since the Higgs...
  24. K

    I Is the top quark stable in the absence of the Higgs field?

    in a universe without the higgs field fermions would be massless in absence of the higgs field, would second and third generation fermions such as muon tau top quarks etc be stable? how to distinguish between a massless electron muon and a tau in a universe without the higgs field, same for...
  25. J

    I What is mass according to the standard model?

    All particles get their mass from the higgs field. But how? According to the standard model what is "mass" and how do particles get it?
  26. T

    A Can the quantum Zeno effect be applied to the Higgs field

    This sounds weird and i suppose that i got some concepts wrong. For all i know, the higgs field may be metastable and the zeno effect states that the rate of decay for an unstable system can be changed by interaction. Can the zeno effect be applied to the higgs field if it is indeed metastable?
  27. newjerseyrunner

    B Does the Higgs field gravitate?

    Ive heard both that the Higgs field has a constant energy throughout space, but I also know that in GR all energy gravitates. Does the energy of non-ground state fields move around? If so, what effect would slightly more or less energy in the field have?
  28. I

    I Why does the existence of the Higgs Field require a Higgs Particle?

    I believe I understand how the Higgs field imparts "mass" on a particle. Would someone explain how the existence of the Higgs Field means there has to be a Higgs Particle?
  29. K

    I Is mass of top quark based solely on the Higgs field?

    the top quark is the heaviest quark. the current theory is its invariant mass is based solely on its interactions with the higgs field. in absence of the higgs field, fermions, quarks and leptons are massless, and in the presence of the higgs field, they acquire mass. the reason the top quark...
  30. K

    I The Higgs Field and Fermion Generations: Stability and Mass

    if there were no higgs field, would the second and third generation of fermions, such as the top quark, be exactly the same mass as first generation? is the coupling between the top quark and the higgs field the sole reason the top quark is heaviest SM particle? is there a reason the top...
  31. B

    B Higgs Field Radio: Revolutionizing Global Communication

    The higgs field is everywhere.. how do you use it in a 2 way communication radio so the United States can communicate with the other side of the planet by passing right thru the mantle and core without using any satellite relay station?
  32. J

    B Is the Higgs Field Manipulable?

    So with my admittedly very limited understanding of this level of physics I understand Mass to be caused by the interaction of the higgs boson with this field, and supposedly the experimental data in atom smashers has confirmed the existence of the boson, so accepting that higgs field is a real...
  33. K

    I Clarification of Higgs field, Higgs boson and gravitons

    since gravity under GR has unlimited range the graviton must be massless. since the graviton is massless, the higgs field does not couple to the graviton. If the higgs field did couple to gravitons, it would cause gravitons to have mass, contradicting observation. but the higgs field carries...
  34. Ranku

    I Instability of the Higgs particle

    In the multiverse paradigm, the Higgs particle is said to be unstable. What does the instability of the Higgs particle mean? Could it spontaneously disappear? What are the conditions for something like that to happen? And what would be the fate of the universe if that were to happen - keeping in...
  35. hsdrop

    B Exploring the Higgs Field in Space-Time

    is the higgs field the same ever wair or does the field thicker and thinner in places like space-time?
  36. scientepid

    I How can you visualize the Higgs field, or can you?

    Just when I thought I had finally wrapped my brain around relativity, Quantum theory took off. Then the Higgs Boson was discovered. How does the Higgs field under-pin relativity, namely space-time? How is the Higgs field distributed? Does it have curvature like space time, or is omnipresent...
  37. dschwie

    I Higgs particle vs. Higgs field

    Does it make sense to say that the Higgs boson is an excitation in the Higgs field in much the same way that a fermion such as an electron is an excitation in the electromagnetic field? I am trying to understand the difference between the Higgs field, which is everywhere, and the Higgs boson...
  38. C

    I Is the Higgs Field a new form of an old idea?

    The Higgs mechanism requires a quantum field (the Higgs Field) to permeate all space. This field has been added to the Standard Model. Is the Higgs field a "new form" of an old idea (the eather)?
  39. T

    B Some abnoxious questions regarding mass, gravity and spaceti

    I don't really understand energy-momentum... Regarding the fundamental fields in the standard model: Could the gluons in an atom (and the atom itself), ever be stationary to spacetime? I'm assuming not because that would seem like the atom didn't have gravity or ...whatever? (I can't really word...
  40. C

    B What is the shape and orientation os the Higgs field?

    Greetings, Other fields are curved around particles and objects. The Higgs field permeates all of space. What is the shape of the Higgs field lines? Is it parallel lines? Or a grid of perpendicular lines? Is it curved? What is the orientation? What determined the orientation? Thanks
  41. J

    I Is the Higgs Field Solely Responsible for Imparting Mass to Particles?

    I am trying to understand the Higgs field. I understand that mass and charge are measurable characteristics of particles. I have read that the concept of the Higgs field was to explain how particles have mass. The Higgs field supposedly "imparts" mass to particles which would not have mass if...
  42. E

    I Monopole Creation and Higgs Field

    Please consider this statement from Alan Guth (from his book "The Inflationary Universe"). The context is the creation of magnetic monopoles: The monopoles, therefore, are the surviving remnants of the chaos in the Higgs fields immediately after the phase transition. Guth then goes on to...
  43. Dr. Manoj

    B Is Higgs field present everywhere?

    I've doubt. I read on Wikipedia that, higgs field is thought to be present everywhere in universe. Is it even present by my side? If yes why am I not gaining mass. Please clear my doubts!
  44. 1

    How does protons has mass and not pions?

    hi, I've heard that protons has most of their mass from their electromagnetic and strong interactions between their quarks, but specifically, how does that make mass? and if so, what is intrinsic mass then? and pions has 2 quarks and strong and electro interactions, why doesn't it has mass...
  45. E

    Why must the Higgs' gauge symmetry be broken?

    The part I understand: I understand that the spontaneous symmetry breaking of the Higgs produces the 'Mexican hat' potential, with two non-zero stable equilibria. I understand that as the Higgs is a complex field, there exists a phase component of the field. Under gauge transformations of...
  46. anorlunda

    Is the Higgs Field an Exception to Energy Being Merely a Property?

    In a recent thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/is-energy-convertible-to-matter.692986/#post-5262460 PF mentor Dalespam said, "Energy is a property, not a "thing" Then Dalespam said, "You can convert things with energy (e.g. a pair of photons) into other things with energy (e.g...
  47. onion3000

    Does Absolute Zero Equal Zero Weight?

    If interactions with the Higgs field make something have more mass, and if movement creates interactions with the field, then wouldn't something at absolute zero have no weight (zero speed, so no interaction with the Higgs field)?
  48. Marc Brown

    How do Physicists know the Higgs Field imparts mass?

    I can understand using calculations to determine if a particular quark configuration will work and not decay instantly, but how do calculations determine which particles or fields will have a specific influence over space-time if they weren't able to control the particle or field at will? How...
  49. CaptainNorway

    Relativity & Higgs Field: Exploring a Connection

    I watched a Stephen Hawking series a few months after reading an article about the significance of the Higgs Field and throughout the entire Stephen Hawking thing I was plagued by the notion that some aspects of relativity, such as how as something speed up as it gains mass could be explained...