Roger Penrose in Chapter 25 of his book The Road to Reality describes a "zigzag" model of the electron that consists of a pair of massless components one with a left-handed spin (the zig) and the other with a right-handed spin (the zag).(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

He says that the Dirac equation can be written as a pair of equations which describe each component being continually transformed into the other. The strength of the coupling between these equations depends on the electron mass.

Thus the electron is continually jittering between a massless zig and a zag particle. The energy in this vibrating motion provides the electron with its rest mass. (This is Penrose's explanation of the well-known electron "zitterbewegung")

Penrose then goes on to say that one can think of the Higgs field as taking over the role of the electron mass. One imagines that it is the continual interaction with the Higgs field that causes the electron zig to be converted to the electron zag and vice-versa. Again it is the energy in this vibrating motion that gives rise to the electron's rest mass.

I think this picture is better than the particle-in-molasses picture that one often hears. In my view the Higgs interaction explains the origin of the rest mass/energy of a particle (and therefore its gravitational mass) but not its inertia defined as its resistance to being accelerated. I think inertia might have a "Machian" gravitational cause as outlined in Dennis Sciama's "On the origin of inertia":

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1953MNRAS.113...34S

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# Penrose zigzag model of Higgs-electron interaction

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