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Higgs Boson and Hawking Radiation

  1. Dec 31, 2008 #1
    Hey everyone, I'm new here.

    I'm currently a Grade 12 Student interested in Astrophysics, who has just recently applied to University (in Canada: UBC, UVic, UofT, UWO, Queen's, and York; all for Astrophysics and/or Astronomy, if anyone wants to give me advice on which one to choose, please do )

    Since the Ontario public/catholic curriculum barely delves into any detail on any theoretical physics, I've had to look into subjects that interest me currently by myself, with hardly anyone to give me proper answers.

    After watching some MIT lectures off of iTunes U and reading other astrophysics literature, I've come to ask what some of you may think of as a simple question:

    Is there a correlation between the Higgs Boson and Hawking Radiation.

    I've only read into both in simplest terms, but I was just thinking to myself if the two could be connected.

    My assumptions:

    Hawking Radiation needs an antiparticle-particle pair that we have not discovered to be torn apart into its antiparticle and particle parts, releasing the particle with energy and momentum from the black hole, slowly decreasing the black holes' life.

    Could this antiparticle-particle pair be a gauge particle? I know that the photon, a gauge particle, can be split into a positron and electron, as well as the annihilation of two produce a photon. Could the sought after Higgs boson share a similar characteristic?

    What I mean is that the Higgs boson, an ever existing virtual particle that exists all over our universe, dictating mass (as I've been explained to in simplest terms) could actually be an antiparticle-particle pair, like the photon. As this Higgs boson approaches the BH it is torn, producing Hawking Radiation.

    I'm sure you can all easily tell me I am completely wrong, as I assume I am, but I'm just simply inquiring.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2008 #2

    George Jones

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    Hi Kindayr; welcome to Physics Forums!
    Hawking radiation consists of both of particles and antiparticles of which we know (e.g., photons, electons, positrons, etc.) and which have yet to be discovered, but Hawking radiation doesn't actually require any hitherto unknown particles. A black hole's temperature is inversely proportional to its mass, so small black holes are more likely to produce Higgs bosons than large black holes.

    You might like to read Steve Carlip's description of Hawking radiation,


    If you have any questions about this, or about anything I've written, or about anything else, fire away.
    It's not quite true that an isolated photon can decay into a particle-antiparticle pair,as this would violate the law of conservation of momentum. Two photons can, however, produce a a particle-antiparticle pair.
    In the simplest models, Higgs bosons are not composite particles.
  4. Dec 31, 2008 #3
    I understand now, thanks a lot :)

    I guess I'm just wondering if its possible for the Higgs Boson to decay into any lepton pair, since both several other gauge bosons, such as the photon, W-, W+, Z bosons all subsequently decay into different lepton pairs.

    Furthermore, as a side question, I was wondering something else.

    I've been explained to that Higgs bosons are basically everywhere, almost constituting our universe. Furthermore, I've been described that as matter approaches the speed of light, it gains mass, which results in more energy to maintain an increase of speed, making it impossible for matter to reach the speed of light. I realize that this is described through Einstein's rest mass equation, that huge amounts of energy begin to present themselves in matter as an increase in mass.

    My question is that what if the fact that matter cannot achieve the speed of light is due to the fact that the Higgs Boson is actually creating a drag affect on the object attempting to achieve c. Wouldn't this mimick Huygen's idea of a vacuo aether? As well as the effects, of what we have proven to be non-existent, aether winds?

    Obviously my claims are juvenile and uninformed, but these questions still bug me.

    PS: I'm also wondering if this could be the Higgs force that the boson actually dictates. Like a negative charge aproaching another negative charge, there is a repulsive electric force that increases to the square as you approach the other negative charge. What if c is the repulsive charge, and as we approach it, a force is pushing us away. Obviously this force must be extremely weak as we don't feel the effects at smaller speeds, but it grows exponentially as we approach c.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  5. Jan 1, 2009 #4


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    It depends on the higgs boson mass which lepton pairs it can decay into.

    If the higgs boson have mass above 2*m_Z the most prominent decay modes will be into ZZ and WW, which in their turn can decay into alot of stuff. one of the possible end products is the 4 muon one, called the Golden Channel.

    If the higgs have mass below 2*m_W, it will decay in to fermion-antifermion pairs, and among these the bottom + antibottom will dominate.

    So, yes, it can decay into lepton pairs, but you can not argue that it can do it since W, and Z can do it I think. The Higgs boson is quite different from these.

    Regarding why particles with mass can't be accelerated to speed of light, you are doing some kind of classical analogy with the quantum vacuum, but kinematics of special relativity is a classic (i.e non quantum) effect -> You can derive the equations of special relativity without QM.

    So the reason for why particles acquire mass when accelerated is simply that time and space are Relative concepts, that's all you need to proove it. And the reason for why particles with mass can't go to speed of light is that infinite amount of energy is needed to accelerate them, which is impossible.
  6. Jan 1, 2009 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    A Higgs can directly decay to any (same flavor) lepton pair. However, because the Higgs couples to mass, the branching fractions are tiny.

    However, George is right - Hawking radiation doesn't require a Higgs, doesn't have a special role for the Higgs, and even if the Higgs were composite, it wouldn't have any effect.
  7. Jan 1, 2009 #6


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    well toché, higgs have mass way above the 2*m_tau so my statement was a bit fuzzy ;-)
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