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Is Higgs boson surely a particle?

  1. Jun 7, 2012 #1
    I've been bugged by a question for some time.Everyone talks about the Higgs boson, although no one discovered it yet.My question is how do we know it's a particle?I mean, to me it'd make more sense if it were a wave created at the same time with the Big Bang that gave everything mass or if it were a separate dimension, like space-time.From what I know, gravity warps the space-time fabric and an essential component for gravity is mass, so the thing that gives mass also plays a role in warping space-time.But what if mass would be another dimension, different from space-time, unable to meld with the space-time dimensions and thus causing the deformation of the space time continuum.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2012 #2
    It is important to understand that particles are quantizations of fields (fields are particles, particles are fields). And also that we are talking about quantum particles, which are not to be thought of as ordinary classical particles. There is some good introductory level info here about how particles are described in quantum mechanics http://www.youtube.com/physicsacademy

  4. Jun 7, 2012 #3


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    Well no, but particles are excitations of fields, and the field/particle distinction is particularly important in the Higgs case. The Higgs FIELD is a uniform primordial field, whose existence permits other the other elementary particles (leptons, quarks, W and Z) to have a rest mass. The prediction is that there will also necessarily be an excitation of this field called the Higgs BOSON. Studying the properties of the Higgs boson is a good way to study the properties of the Higgs field.

    Neither of them has a close relationship to gravity. Gravity couples to total energy, not just rest mass. Total energy of course includes kinetic energy as well as the energy due to particle interactions, and the Higgs field is not responsible for these.
  5. Jun 7, 2012 #4
    I don't doubt that the field/particle distinction is important but I'm pretty sure that the quantum of the Higgs field is the Higg's boson???

    Am I making some mistake in thinking that a quantization is the same thing as a quantum is the same thing as an exitation?
  6. Jun 7, 2012 #5


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    I think Bill K was addressing your parenthetical comment "(fields are particles, particles are fields)".
  7. Jun 7, 2012 #6


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    I think we're saying the same thing, juzzy, it's just that the word "quantization" means something else. :smile: It's the process of taking a classical system and deriving a quantum system from it.

    I don't think anyone would object to using "quantum" in place of excitation although it's a bit dated, and most commonly the term is applied to something that can be measured classically but becomes discrete at the quantum level (such as the electromagnetic field). Here's an online definition I found: "The smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation."
  8. Jun 7, 2012 #7


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    Unfortunately, we will continue to see question such as this when people see things appearing out of nowhere (no pun intended) without understanding QFT.

  9. Jun 7, 2012 #8

    Saying quantized fields is not unheard of.

    [1] N.N. Bogolyubov, D.V. Shirkov, "Introduction to the theory of quantized fields" , Interscience (1959) (Translated from Russian)
  10. Jun 7, 2012 #9
    With all due respect Bill_K I think that quantization means to turn a continuous entity into a discrete entity and wavefunctions are considerd to be continuous entities that evolve smoothly and deterministically in the absence of measurement. Only on measuring the field will it be discretized, with the quanta being the particle related to that particular field.

    I see what youre saying but i dont think I said anything that was incorrect. Particles are what you get when you quantize a field.

    At least that is what I meant :)
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