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Do Higgs bosons exist outside Switzerland?

  1. May 7, 2014 #1
    What i mean is: are there currently Higgs Bosons in the universe or the only place where they exist now is if man (or some other technological being) recreates special conditions like in a particle accelerator?

    Another related question of mine is: some particles "receive" their mass from the interaction with the Higgs Field, right? Is this something that happened once and for all or is this mechanism ongoing? In other words, if we could switch off the Higgs Field, would particles "lose" their masses or is mass aquired by particles once and forever?
    Thank you. W.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 7, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The Higgs, like any fundamental particle, does not depend on humans for their existence - no.
    (Note: we don't do philosophy here so tread carefully.)

    The Higgs mechanism is ongoing - without the field, everything would be massless - though, it is unclear how to do that. It is likely that the Higgs field is fundamental to having things like matter and space and so on.

    Caution: this is a pretty simplistic description of what the Higgs field etc does, try not to extrapolate far.
  4. May 7, 2014 #3


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    Although the existence of the Higgs field is not dependent on man, in order to have Higgs bosons there must be processes with high enough energy to create them (astrophysical or made by an intelligent being trying to figure out how Nature works). This is due to the very short lifetime of the Higgs boson and not very different from the tau or any other short-lived heavy particle. After all, most of the things we see are typically from the first (and sometimes second) generation of fermions.

    A more precise statement about the Higgs field is that without its vacuum expectation value, things would be massless (and if the value changed the masses would too). Now chances are that the Higgs vacuum is metastable and could possible tunnel to a lower energy state. This would severely change the physics and probably mean the end of our Universe as we know it.
  5. May 7, 2014 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    This should help:
    ... directly to post #1.

    Orodruin brings up some intreguing points:

    Metastability of Higgs Vaccuum example:
    http://arxiv-web3.library.cornell.edu/abs/1310.5361 (by reference)
    ... however, this is highly speculative and tentative.
    There are also papers which put the Higgs mass in the unstable regeon.
    i.e. http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.4709

    Also discussed on PF before:
  6. May 7, 2014 #5
    Thank you for your replies.
    I am going to read what Simon suggests, seems deeply interesting.
    I would like to add that Orodruin probably better got what is my doubt.
    I try to explain further. Let's say we are the only intelligence in the world. If it weren't for us, there wouldnt be any single atom of Flerovium around: we were the ones who produced it and outside whatever laboratory (Dubna?) produced it, there are no other atoms of it in the whole universe because nature doesn't have the right conditions to produce it.
    Muons, on the other hand, are not very common but we can find them as naturally occurring in cosmic rays.
    I was wondering if the same is true for the Higgs Boson: if we are the only smart guys around and we don't produce it, are there any places in the universe where we could find it as a naturally occuring particle or not?
    Now i go reading... maybe the answer is there. Thx! W.
  7. May 7, 2014 #6


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    Cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere occur at higher energies than in terrestrial colliders (around 10^18 ev if I'm not mistaken). So, there are plenty of Higgs bosons being created in the atmosphere all the time.
  8. May 7, 2014 #7


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    The Earth is constantly being bombarded with cosmic rays, and the highest energy cosmic rays have energies as high as 10^20 eV. When these collide with atoms in the atmosphere, the collisions are much higher energy than the LHC, even in the CM frame. So whatever is made in the LHC is also made in cosmic ray collisions, albeit at a much lower rate.
  9. May 7, 2014 #8

    Simon Bridge

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    No that's pretty much what I got from post #1.

    We don't expect Fluovium to be found in Nature because it is so unstable and the conditions needed to create it are very unusual.

    Muons are pretty common - detectors can usually find cosmic ray muons at a rate of a few a minute iirc. The actual flux is about 1 muon per square centimeter per second.
    Though short-lived in the usual run of things, they have much longer half-lives than Fluovium and the conditions needed to make them are very common.

    The Higgs field is ubiquitous - just need high-enough energy collisions to get the particle to pop up. As the others point out, such energies are very easy to find in nature. Thus we would expect that the Higgs boson appears naturally outside the lab.

    That should answer your question pretty completely.
  10. May 7, 2014 #9


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    Well, that being said, a Higgs boson is probably never going to be seen outside of colliders. Considering its lifetime of about 10^-22 s (9 orders of magnitude shorter than that of the tau) and all of the other stuff produced in the same type of collisions, you need very good equipment to detect its decay products.
  11. Dec 25, 2016 #10
    I understand in theory this is proven as to be able to exist. My question is, has it been proven naturally? An example... all the components of bleach exist naturally, but bleach itself never occurs naturally... maybe a stupid analogy. A simple yes or no would suffice.
  12. Dec 25, 2016 #11
    If not, how is it relative to our naturally occuring "world" or is just a human application?
  13. Dec 25, 2016 #12


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    No, we've actually seen it outside of theory in the LHC. It's just as real as all of the other fundamental particles.

    Yes. Anything the LHC can produce in its collisions can be produced in many, many other places in the universe. As posts earlier in the thread explained, it is very likely that higgs bosons are produced during cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere. We can't detect them up there because it is rather difficult to mount detectors, weighing upwards of 14,000 tons, 100 km in the air. Not to mention the fact that the rate of production would be much, much lower than the LHC, so you wouldn't get a clear signal for many, many years.
  14. Dec 26, 2016 #13
    The natural production rate of Flerovium is likely modest because it takes a low probability process in nature: two heavy, neutron-rich nuclei colliding at high energy. In nature, most nuclei are light, and the few that are heavy will not find another heavy nucleus to collide with.

    Higgs boson, truth quark and W and Z bosons are fundamental particles and easily produced in collisions with high enough energy. Such energetic particles are produced in nature.

    What is the energy needed to produce a Higgs boson in proton-proton collision? In muon-proton collision?

    Air tends to stop even high energy protons. Muons get through easier.
    What is the flux, on ground, of muons with enough energy to produce a Higgs boson on collision with a nucleon?
    If a muon hits a detector on ground and produces a Higgs boson, is it easy to ascertain whether it was a Higgs boson, a truth quark or a W or Z boson produced?
  15. Dec 26, 2016 #14


    Staff: Mentor

    A bunch of off topic posts have been removed. Please do not derail @Wentu's thread. If you have your own topics then please post them inna separate thread
  16. Dec 26, 2016 #15


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    What is so Important that something has to be "proven naturally"?

    This appears to be a rather arbitrary, made-up criteria with zero justification.

  17. Dec 31, 2016 #16
    You might be wrong about that.

    Supernova explosions generate enormous neutron fluxes, possibly high enough to create superheavy nuclei.

    As you go down neutron star crust, there are likely heavier and heavier nuclei, possibly even ones not normally stable in a vacuum.
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