Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Higgs Boson and Einstein

  1. Dec 12, 2009 #1
    As a layman, I'm having a problem with understanding the search at LHC for the Higgs Boson.

    As I understand Einstein, all mass is nothing but energy. In that case, why are we looking for a particle which imbues mass?

    For example, in Rutherford's experiment, at least in my mind's eye, when I apply Einstein, the result is because photons are neither particles or waves, but higher concentrations of energy moving in and with a field of lower concentrations of energy. I.e., light is neither a particle or wave, it is the universe waving.

    That seems like a good way to understand Einstein. In that case, using a collider would naturally produce new particles never seen. If you smash two waves together you get new waves. And the harder you smash them, the mores waves you would produce. So wouldn't it then follow that we're simply seeing the potential of the universe to produce all kinds of exotic waves -- that usually don't last long -- by our producing them?

    It seems like this isn't just an adjustment to Einstein, but an abandonment. So obviously, I'm missing some basic principle which allows both theories to coexist?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Special relativity describes the conversion of mass to energy. However material stuff has rest mass (which is what is usually called mass) and the Higgs particle is part of a theory which explains where this mass comes from.
  4. Dec 12, 2009 #3
    I always thought it also described the conversion of energy to mass. Wasn't that his larger point? That all matter is simply highly cohesive energy in space-time?
  5. Dec 14, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Special relativity gives the relationship between mass and energy, when either is converted to the other. This theory (Einstein) dates from 1905.

    The Higgs theory (due to Higgs) is much more recent. It is part of quantum theory.
  6. Dec 14, 2009 #5
    Ok. Thanks.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook