Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Questions about the behavior of the Higgs particle and Higgs field

  1. Nov 11, 2012 #1
    1.) If the particle they believe to be the Higgs particle has a mass of 125 GeV, then how is it that the Higgs field itself does not have mass or react with gravity? If it is in fact the field creating the mechanism that gives everything its mass, and its particle form also has mass, why is it not effected by gravity?

    2.) I have read that the Higgs field, being a scalar field, is not effected by black holes or gravity and is constant through everything, yet this doesn't account for some of the unexplained questions in physics like, "Why does the universe expand faster than it should?" or "Why do galaxies spin faster than they should towards the edges?". Both of these issues are related to calculated amounts of mass or gravity not being what they should be. We are obviously missing something big. How can one say that the Higgs field is not effected by the forces it creates?

    3.) Light is supposedly not effected by gravity, because photons have a rest mass of zero, yet it is obvious that light bends into black holes. Some may argue, "It isn't the gravity of the black hole bending the light. It is the fact that the gravity is warping space-time, causing light to travel through the warped space-time." All waves travel through a medium except for light. But I disagree with this, because this view of things shows that light flows through the fabric of space-time. What is the difference between this fabric of space-time and the Higgs field and how do they effect eachother?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Your third point is based on an incorrect premise. I don't understand your first two.
  4. Nov 11, 2012 #3
    The Higgs field may well have mass (more precisely, it may have a nonzero energy density). But this is more or less independent of the mass of the Higgs particle. The mass of the Higgs particle is the amount of energy you need to create a single ripple in the Higgs field. This is independent of the original energy of the Higgs field.

    We don't know that it isn't. First, note that there is no special connection between the Higgs and gravity. Gravity affects anything that has energy, and mass is just one type of energy.

    But the real issue issue here is that we don't really know how to properly connect quantum field theory, which describes the Higgs field, to gravity, so there's not much concrete to say about this.

    The Higgs field doesn't create any forces. In particular, the Higgs is not responsible for gravity.

    This is false. Gravity affects massless particles too, as you go on to explain, so I'm not sure why you made this statement. Perhaps you are remembering Newton's formula for the gravitational force, F = GMm/r^2, which is proportional to the mass of the affected object. But this is a nonrelativistic formula--an approximation, valid only when relativity is not important--which is corrected in general relativity. And photons are relativistic objects if there ever was one.

    Simplifying somewhat, the Higgs field is a number that takes on a certain value at each point in spacetime.
  5. Nov 11, 2012 #4
    So does this mean that at different points in spacetime, the Higgs field can be different? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is this, say that the higgs field is effected by gravity. If it were effected by gravity, then it would be stretched by the massive gravity of a black hole. If gravity effects the Higgs field, then that would change how the Higgs field was giving things mass in a specific area, which would effect how much gravity those things have. So when the black hole warps spacetime and stretches the higgs field, it creates an effect such that things closer to the black hole arn't interacting with the Higgs field as much but things further away from the black hole are interacting more. This could explain why the edges of galaxies spin faster than they are supposed to. They appear to have more mass than they should compared to where we are, because proportionally they do. This effect is because the Higgs field is more dense towards the outer edges of the galaxy where it isn't being stretched as much by the massive gravity of the black hole. Does that make sense at all?
  6. Nov 11, 2012 #5

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    We do not discuss personal theories here.
  7. Nov 12, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    If you have excitations of the field - Higgs particles.

    The Higgs field is not something you can pull around like solid objects.
    Even close to a black hole, you can approximate your local environment by a Minkowski space, and work as if there would be no gravity.

  8. Nov 12, 2012 #7
    Have not you heard about bending of light in presence of gravitation.This is also present in newtonian theory but deflection is twice as large as predicted by newtonian theory,which is predicted clearly by einstein field eqn.
  9. Nov 13, 2012 #8
    Thank you for your responses. Obviously I have no idea what I'm talking about, but this is how you learn.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook