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How can the Higgs Boson have a mass?

  1. Jul 5, 2012 #1
    How can the Higgs Boson have a mass if it's what determines mass? Do we have any insight to why its mass is very large?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 5, 2012 #2


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    Well naively speaking, the Higgs is associated with the breaking of electroweak symmetry. In particular, it gives the W and Z their masses, so an order of magnitude estimate puts it at 100GeV.
  4. Jul 5, 2012 #3
    The Higgs Boson doesn't cause mass. The Higgs field does. The boson is just sort of a particle that results from travelling through the Higgs field. Thats how it was explained to me.
  5. Jul 6, 2012 #4


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    In quantum field theory every particle is the excitation of some field. A photon is the excitation of the electromagnetic field and so on. The Higgs boson is the excitation of the Higgs field. The other particles have rest mass because of their interaction with the Higgs field. And likewise the Higgs boson's rest mass arises because of its interaction with itself.
  6. Jul 6, 2012 #5
    Please forgive my ignorance as I am only an interrested observer and not a physicist.

    I would like to know if my line of thinking is correct.
    Particle accelerator colides protons at almost the speed of light.

    That results in a super high level of energy in a small area.

    That energy is enough to cause a tiny wave in the Higgs field.

    Higgs boson is born.

    Higgs field is, for the purpose of a mental picture, similar to honey so the wave dissapates extremely quickly.

    This decay means Higgs boson decays.

    There is enough remaining energy in the other fields that are in the same location as the Higgs field to yield other particles with less mass thant the Higgs Boson.

    Those are the particles that the Higgs decays into.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around this and I've been taking notes. This seems like the basic idea of what I've been reading although hugely simplified.

    All matter with mass interracts with the higgs field but it takes a massive amount of energy to make a small ripple in that field and produce a Higgs Boson. Is that correct? And if not is there a better siimplification?
  7. Jul 7, 2012 #6


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    The energy comes from the Higgs boson (the "waves" in the Higgs field) itself.

    As a qualitative model, the concepts you describe should work.
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