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Questions about the higgs boson.

  1. Jan 30, 2013 #1
    These are things about the higgs boson that am confused with:

    1: how does particle physics explain the weakness of gravity, since higgs is just another force carrier like any other, why is it so weak?

    2: how do virtual bosons, popping in and out of existence, exchange between two particles if they only exist momentarily when exchanging between particles means moving a distance and unless they move infinetely fast they take time moving this distance, if they take time then they live for more then an instance and then they are not virtual bosons.

    3: Why do higgs boson only stick to some particles and not others? are there any shared common features of all massless particles, do all particles with mass have one same thing that allows them to excite the higgs field.

    4: Why exactly is a higgs boson unstable but light is not?

    5: HOW does the higgs boson have mass when it is the generator of mass, I mean.. you could say it has this amount of energy but if it's just the creator of mass then how can it have mass. It's sort of like saying photons have charge, but they don't they are just oscillations in the charge field.

    6: why exactly does the potential energy field have to be "mexical hat"-like why cant it just be uniform and the (potential energy)/(higgs boson) be waves in the higgs field

    7: How exactly do two virtual higgs bosons "exchange" between particles.

    If anybody could adress some of those quesitons and maybe explain what exactly is happening with virtual particles and the higgs field it'd be nice, altough I realise not much logic may be behind this other than pure maths.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2013 #2


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    The standard model does not include gravity at all. Some possible extensions (like extradimensions) can provide an explanation why gravity looks weak to us. This has nothing to do with the Higgs boson.
    They can appear and disappear at different times, which could be seen as a finite "lifetime". But keep in mind that virtual particles are virtual: They are a handy tool for calculations, and to draw some processes with pen and paper. They are not real particles flying around.
    Quantum field theory. There are explanations in the particle physics forum, if you are interested in details.
    All particles which get a mass from the Higgs boson couple to the weak interaction (W and Z bosons).
    There are possible decay modes for the Higgs boson, but not for photons.
    Self-interaction: The interaction with the Higgs field gives a mass to the Higgs boson. In addition, it is the only particle which can have a mass in the classical way - you can just write its mass into the theory.
    The field needs a non-zero vacuum expectation value, and it has to break the electroweak symmetry.
  4. Jan 30, 2013 #3


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    Also look at the bottom of this page, where you will find links to earlier threads with similar titles.
  5. Jan 30, 2013 #4
    1 Re: what ? the standard model does not include gravity? so the higgs boson being a force carrier of gravity and the higgs field being gravity is not gravity?

    2 Re: So, are they real or are they not? If they are not actually there... what is going on?

    3 Re: Thanks.

    4 Re: Interesting.

    5 Re: Why? what affects weather and how a particle will decay? and it's stability

    6: Re: I thought the higgs boson was an interaction of the field itself, how can an interaction of a field interacting with itself.

    7 Re: Will have to study more of such.

    8 Re: What I meant was, how do two particles exchange a virtual higgs boson? since that's apparently how the gravitational attraction occurs.

    Thanks for the answers.
  6. Jan 30, 2013 #5

    The Higgs is not the force carrier of gravity. It imparts mass to some of the elementary particles; that's it. Gravity is not mediated by particles exchanging Higgs bosons.
  7. Jan 30, 2013 #6
    so why do the particles NEED the higgs boson to have mass?

    the higgs boson is not the force carrier of gravity? I've read that all over :( it's like this particle is so fuzzy, bad explainations all around the interwebs.
  8. Jan 30, 2013 #7
    So the higgs boson is just a thing in the particles that allows them to excite the higgs field. So is a force carrier for gravity not expected?
  9. Jan 30, 2013 #8


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    The higgs field (not the boson) gives particles their inertial mass, and special relativity (this is included in the SM) relates this to an energy (the energy the particles have at rest). There is absolutely no gravity involved.
    Depends on your definition of "real". Virtual particles are part of our model to describe physics. In theory, you can work without the notion of virtual particles - it is just much more complicated.
    The possible decay modes. I think this was related to 4.?
    The higgs boson has a mass, it can decay to two particles with less mass and conserve energy and momentum in the decay. The photon has no mass, and there are no particles it can decay into.
    The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field. An excitation of the Higgs field is part of the Higgs field - its interaction with the Higgs field is not so surprising, I think.
    No, it is not.
    Particles can exchange virtual Higgs bosons (not a very interesting process I think), but again, that is just our model - and as it is an elementary interaction, there is no deeper layer of "how". It just happens.
    Massive particles in quantum field theory without the Higgs mechanism do not fit to our observations.

    This would be called graviton.
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