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Higgs Boson and Space in an Atom

  1. Jun 4, 2008 #1
    In an atom we know that there is a large space between the particles in an atom.
    Is this space supposedly filled with the higgs boson prarticle and if so how can we not have seen this particle before.
    Approx. how many of this boson would that mean there would be!
    Just speculation really...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 4, 2008 #2
    [[What I am about to say might be wrong, and doesn't cover the difference between virtual and on-shell particles which I don't understand very well. Please correct me if I make any mistakes...]]

    What is important is to keep in mind the difference between the Higgs field and the Higgs boson.

    You sometimes hear that the Higgs field permeates space. It is everywhere. It is between the spaces between electrons in atoms.

    But, what is a field? A field is just a series of values, a complex number in the case of the Higgs Boson, tacked to each point in space.

    On the other hand, what is a boson-- what is a particle? A particle is an excitation of a field. A particle, a boson, is a ripple in the values of the field.

    The Higgs field permeates space. But it is flat. It takes the same value everywhere. The "empty space" in an atom does contain the Higgs field, but it's as far as I know it's all a flat ocean of Higgsness between the electrons.

    The "Higgs Boson" we want to find is a ripple in the Higgs field. This ripple could be created in a particle accelerator collision. But the Higgs particle, the ripple, isn't something which is important in physics, I don't think, because it doesn't normally or commonly happen in nature. We want to find the Higgs particle so that we can measure various properties of the Higgs field. But it's the flat field which does all the important physics stuff.
  4. Jun 5, 2008 #3
    Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_field#Theoretical_overview: "In essence, this (Higgs) field is analogous to a pool of molasses, that “sticks” to the otherwise massless fundamental particles which travel through the field converting into different particles with mass and form the basis of the atom."

    Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force_carrier: "In the Standard Model the hypothetical Higgs boson, which is needed to account for the masses of fundamental particles, interacts via the weak interaction and Yukawa interactions but is not a force carrier."

    You should check out these sites: http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761562335_3/Elementary_Particles.html#s35
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2008
  5. Jun 6, 2008 #4


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    This is a pretty good description of the situation, IMHO.
  6. Jun 6, 2008 #5
    GRB, thanks for pointing out to me the short, but helpful Wikipedia article on the Higgs boson.
    Wish other Wikipedia physics articles were as easy to read by a layman, such as myself. However, the links you provided for "Force carrier" & "encarta" apparenly no longer exist.
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