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Higgs Particle. Where are you now?

  1. Jul 6, 2012 #1
    So the LHC confirms strong evidence for a Higgs like Boson.

    But does this mean that the boson only existed for a tiny fraction of a second at the begginning of time and give other particles their mass? Or are we all surrounded by Higgs particles all the time?

    Many thanks
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2012 #2


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    hi esmeralda4! :smile:

    there's a higgs field everywhere all time

    that doesn't mean there's any higgs particles

    compare it with a magnet: it has an electromagnetic field, but it doesn't give off any actual photons :wink:

    (ok, it does radiate infra-red photons, but that's only because of its temperature, nothing to do with being a magnet)
  4. Jul 6, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    So are there any Higgs Bosons zipping around or have they all decayed at the beginning of the universe?

    With the magnet comparison doesn't the magnet give of exchange photons when it is near another magnet or magnetic material? Or have I made that up?

    What conditions are needed for a particle in the Higgs Field to emit or receive Higgs Particles?
  5. Jul 6, 2012 #4


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    those are virtual photons

    virtual photons are a maths thing, they make up the electromagnetic quantum field

    in the same way, virtual higgs particles make up the higgs quantum field

    but they're not really there (and you certainly couldn't detect them in any way) :smile:
  6. Jul 6, 2012 #5
    Ok, just been reading about virtual particles. Just how complicated does the Universe want to be anyway? If I was to design a Universe I would probably have, like, two particles and maybe only one force and they would all be visible to the naked eye. And I would have non of this virtual, quantum, uncertainty rubbish...


    Sorry to repeat my question but are there any non virtual Higgs particles existing in the Universe today (with the exception of any created at the LHC)? Basically has everything now got it's mass or is everything still and is always getting it from the Higgs mechanism and non virtual Higgs Bosons?
  7. Jul 6, 2012 #6

    I like Serena

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  8. Jul 6, 2012 #7


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    I would expect that this simple universe cannot produce any life. And no eye, of course.

    Some Higgs bosons are produced when cosmic rays hit anything, but the total number is quite small.

    Every particle [which gets a mass via the Higgs mechanism] interacts with the Higgs field all the time, which can be described as the interaction with virtual Higgs particles.
  9. Jul 6, 2012 #8
    That's not necessarily true. Virtual particles are a mathematical structures used as approximations in perturbation theory but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't "real". Whether or not our mathematics sheds any light on reality is the grit of this question.
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