# Higgs field and my non-physicist friend

• Guineafowl
In summary, the conversation discusses the difficulty of describing the Higgs boson using analogies and the flaws in existing analogies, such as the treacle analogy. The speaker also mentions their attempts to explain the concept of mass in relation to the Higgs field, but struggles to find a suitable analogy. They also mention their friend's skepticism and suggest that learning the actual physics is the best way to understand the concept.
Guineafowl
I have heard many physicists in the media attempt to describe the Higgs boson in terms of analogies. Many seem to my amateur physicist mind to fall down immediately. One such analogy is that particles with mass interact with the Higgs field as if swimming through treacle. This is particularly awful, since even Newton's laws preclude the idea that objects in free space experience drag on account of their mass. My non-physicist friend, with an agenda I'll leave you to guess at, was picking this apart with me recently.

I tried to explain our concept of mass as a measure of inertia, or resistance to change in velocity, in terms of what I knew of the Higgs field, but couldn't really manage it. Can't we do better than the treacle or famous-person-in-a-crowd analogies? For example, the treacle analogy covers why it's hard to get a massive object moving, but falls down when we try to explain it's resistance to stopping.

I have never seen a really good analogy. You can try to stretch the analogy with the crowd if you assume everyone is walking in the same direction and keeps doing that without external forces, but ... well...
Guineafowl said:
My non-physicist friend, with an agenda I'll leave you to guess at, was picking this apart with me recently.
You can always tell him that he should learn the actual physics (or trust those who did) due to the lack of analogies.

Guineafowl

## What is the Higgs field?

The Higgs field is a theoretical concept in particle physics that explains how particles acquire mass. It is a field that permeates all of space and interacts with particles, giving them mass.

## Why is the Higgs field important?

The Higgs field is important because without it, particles would have no mass and the universe would be very different. The Higgs field also helps to explain why some particles have more mass than others.

## How was the existence of the Higgs field proven?

The existence of the Higgs field was proven through experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012. Scientists observed the Higgs boson, a particle that is associated with the Higgs field, and its properties matched with the predictions of the theory.

## Can I feel or see the Higgs field?

No, the Higgs field is an invisible force that permeates all of space. It cannot be seen or felt by humans.

## Is there any practical application of the Higgs field?

While the Higgs field itself does not have any practical applications, the discovery of the Higgs boson and the confirmation of the Higgs field's existence has furthered our understanding of the fundamental forces and particles in the universe. This knowledge could potentially lead to technological advancements in the future.

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