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One theory is that the higgs particle gives matter mass

  1. Apr 26, 2003 #1


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    one theory is that the "higgs" particle gives matter mass

    one theory is that the "higgs" particle gives matter mass ,if so does it follow that gravity only interacts with the higgs particle?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
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  3. Apr 26, 2003 #2


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    Re: higgs

    wolram this is a truly wonderful and in some way "English" website

    http://hepwww.ph.qmw.ac.uk/epp/higgs.html [Broken]

    In 1993 the UK science minister Waldgrave declared a contest
    to be rewarded with a good champagne dinner---challenging
    physicists to explain what a higgs is
    on one side of a sheet of typing paper!

    Mr and Mrs. Butterworth of Imperial College London came up with a clear short explanation, and so did several other people, and then they had a party.

    This is civilized behavior at its best.

    Please read it, at least the butterworth one the others are maybe not as simple and elegant.

    You know how the vacuum has a bunch of virtual particles all the time. If there is a higgs then there must be a higgs field in the vacuum all the time.
    other particles gain mass by how much they interact with these
    higgs in the vacuum around them. I think.
    the higgs is a particle that has only mass, no other property,
    but dont take my word for it read these wonderful one-page explanations
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  4. Apr 26, 2003 #3


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    You say "does it follow gravity interacts only with higgs?"
    No it does not follow IMO
    Higgs would be giving inertia to things.

    Our model of gravity is not dependent on mass so much as
    energy. It is the energy density (and associated pressure) that
    bends space. And then *everything* including light which has no mass, follows the geodesics.

    You do not have to be interacting with virtual higgs in the vacuum around you in order to follow the geodesics in space.
    Everybody, including massless photons, gets to follow the geodesics because we all share spacetime.

    I think the thing to focus on is inertia. Why do things have inertia.
    the higgs theory is that they get it by interacting with these particles. I do not know if there is good evidence of higgs existing though. Maybe someone here knows.

    caveat: this is just my take on it. very interesting topic!
  5. Apr 26, 2003 #4


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    I have heard the Higgs referred to as a gravitational field. Could this mean that the Higgs is th vaccum, or ground state of space-time itself? In other words, would a universe empty of all matter still contain a certain amount of curvature at each point because it is some instrinsic feature of the Higgs field?

    Also, the Higgs has been called a door out of the standard model. I'm guessing this means the field has something to do with supersymmetry, no?
  6. Apr 26, 2003 #5


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    as you say marcus typical english, i admit iam out of my depth now, i thought gravity was a product of mass, it seems you are saying gravity can exist without mass, is a photon truly masslesss?
    great to read all your replies, i think this forum is "simply the best".
  7. Apr 26, 2003 #6


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    one of the more knowledgeable people (eg damgo, cragwolf) will weigh in to answer your questions hopefully.

    wouldn't it be great---and just like nature---for it to turn out
    that the dark energy density that people think is so important to
    cosmology and which is estimated at 0.6 joule per cubic km---it that dark energy density should turn out to have something to do with the higgs field?

    if either of them really exist :)

    company just came, have to go
  8. Apr 26, 2003 #7


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    swimming out of ones depth is good practice
    and does not automatically lead to drowning in my experience
    so i try to spend a substantial part of each day out of my depth

    I found a good page about mass

    It is in the Usenet Physics FAQ

    This could well be the world's coolest FAQ, it has things like
    "if I go very fast will I turn into a black hole"

    You might like what it says about mass. The core notion of
    mass is inertia. Indeed the inertia of a thing at rest (because inertia
    of a moving thing is ambiguous----the "longitudinal" inertia has been
    discovered to be different from the "sideways" inertia.)

    When something is moving it has a "longitudinal" inertia and
    a sideways or "transverse" inertia. But it no longer has a mass
    because mass is a directionless quantity. So the custom is to
    assign to each object the "invariant" mass which is the inertia
    it WOULD have if it were sitting still. Lorentz discovered this
    ambiguity of inertia of a moving object back in 1904 even before Einstein.

    YES just as you say, a photon really does not have mass.
    It cannot sit still. Only things that can
    sit still can have mass. "Relativistic mass" is a confusing
    idea, Einstein deplored its use, there is an ongoing attempt to
    eliminate the expression from physics and use only the "invariant mass" concept. And so on.
    You will see if you look at the FAQ page.

    A great paper about mass equals rest mass was in June 1989 Physics Today by Lev Okun.
    But this John Baez online thing in the
    Usenet FAQ is adequate.

    One does not need to have massful things
    in order to have gravity.
    There could be a universe with no matter in it,
    with nothing but bunches of light sailing around
    and that light would still warp space and cause
    the rays of light to bend and follow the curved geodesics, and
    bunches of light would attract bunches of light.

    The equations (GR) that model gravity do not have mass in them
    they have *energy density* and related pressures. Energy is
    what causes gravity in GR. Energy tells space how to curve and
    curved space tells energy how to move.

    The guests have come back so I do not have time to edit this.
    It is really a draft and much too long. But I must either send it
    as it is (with apologies) or erase it.
  9. May 22, 2003 #8


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    When something is moving it has a different "longitudinal" inertia from its sideways or "transverse" inertia.

    It takes more force (measured in the lab frame) to produce a given acceleration vector in the direction of motion than the same acceleration sideways. It is harder to speed a moving body up than it is to deflect it---even if the observer at rest can see that the size of the acceleration vectors are the same.

    People used sometimes to talk about the "transverse mass" (gamma m) as opposed to the "longitudinal mass" (gamma3 m). But nowadays most physicists when they say mass just mean "rest mass"----there is no other kind.

    But if you google with keywords "longitudinal mass" and "transverse mass" you can still find these gamma formulas and some discussion of these things.

    The factor gamma = (1 - beta2 )-1/2 can be quite large for beta near one. So there can be a big difference between gamma and (gamma3 ! The difference between forwards inertia and sideways inertia can be very large.

    Like, if gamma is 2, then the thing is 4 times more resistant to speeding up than it is to deflection (where the same size acceleration is to be produced)

    Or if gamma is 10, the thing is 100 times more resistant to speeding up than to deflection.

    Nowadays the use of the term "relativistic mass" is more of an endearing eccentricity than anything else. Like wearing a sword, or having suits of armor in one's livingroom.

    For a moving body, the "relativistic mass" is essentially the same as "transverse"------inertia measured as resistance to deflection-----and the formula for it is gamma m.

    When the Bourbon Monarchy is restored to power in France and the South is again free and independent under the Flag of the Confederacy then no doubt "relativistic mass" will be restored to mainstream physics. :smile: For the diehard loyalist, there is a whole plausible rigamarole surrounding it with special definitions that make everything work.

    On PF I have found that one can call trolls by saying "relativistic mass is obsolete". When you say this, fringe people who use words in eccentric senses, will come out of the walls, wanting to argue. I like to do this now and then to make sure that it still works.
  10. May 22, 2003 #9


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    the higgs and gravity

    You asked about the higgs and gravity.

    If you go by the prevailing model of gravity (post 1916), then energy is what causes gravity and everything, whether it has mass or not, follows gravity. The main equation is:

    Gmu,nu = 8pi T mu,nu

    Here the lefthand side is curvature and has no mass terms in it

    and the righthand side is expressed in units of energy density and contains no restmass terms except as they may enter into calculating energy density and terms of similar type.

    If there happens to be nothing with a nonzero mass in the region, only some light, that light energy would go into the right hand side and produce curvature like any other kind of energy.

    You can involve mass (i.e. rest mass) in calculating energy densities to put into the righthand side of the Einstein equation. But the equations do not require you to put mass terms in.

    SO WE DONT NEED HIGGS FOR GRAVITY we need higgs to explain why things resist acceleration. that is, why things have inertia. Inertia is the big mystery here. why do things want to keep on going the way they have been going, even if you try to push them off course? This is where the explanation by Mr. and Mrs.
    Butterworth comes in so appropriately.

    I really like these questions, the one about higgs and the other one you raised recently.
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