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Questions re: Higgs Boson

  1. May 13, 2009 #1

    Andrew Mason

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    I understand the theory that "forces" as we conceive them are mediated by force particles or force carriers (the gauge bosons: photons for electro-magnetic force, gluons for strong nuclear force and W-Z bosons for the weak nuclear force, ). The analogy to gravity is the graviton.

    I am not sure why is the Higgs boson needed. We do not seem to need a boson to explain the source of the nuclear or electro-magnetic fields. Or do we? If not, why not and why is mass special?

    Also: If, as it appears to me, the need for the Higgs boson is derived from particle theory, it does not seem to provide an explanation for the gravitational field of any "matter" that does not interact (other than gravitationally) with normal matter (eg. dark matter).

    Am I misguided in suggesting that the Higgs boson, if it is found to exist and provides the physical source of mass and gravity (analogous to charge for electro-magnetic force), it must necessarily pre-date the Big Bang (assuming that dark matter predates the Big Bang, which is the current thinking)?

    AM
     
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  3. May 13, 2009 #2

    malawi_glenn

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    The higgs boson field will give mass terms to both the gauge bosons of the weak interaction and the fermions (by yukawa coupling).

    You have have gravity without mass, since gravity is proportional to the energy-momentum tensor.
     
  4. May 13, 2009 #3

    madmike159

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    We don't need a boson to describe the force between 2 charged particles , Colum’s law does that. Photon's provide something to transmit that force across space, rather than the old notion of magnetic flux. The Higgs boson gives mass to some particles, but not others.
     
  5. May 13, 2009 #4
    The Higgs boson is needed to add a mass in the Lagrangian in a way that this keeps being Gauge invariant. Also, the Higgs boson makes the electroweak interactions unitary. If it wasn't there, or if it didn't couple to the particles proportionally to their mass, these interactions wouldn't be unitary, so it's a really elegant solution since it's a way to give mass to the particle of your theory, and also to make it unitary.
     
  6. May 13, 2009 #5

    Andrew Mason

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    Nor do we need a boson to describe the gravitational force between 2 masses - Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation does that quite nicely. But it does not explain the source of gravity any more than Coulomb's law explains charge.

    AM
     
  7. May 13, 2009 #6

    malawi_glenn

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    recall that the virtual boson exchanges is due only since we have no technique other than perturbation theory to solve the interactions in quantum field theory. The virtual particles are just a mathematical tool, a couple of integrals in a cross-section.
     
  8. May 15, 2009 #7
    Malawi,

    With respect to explaining how gravity works, the idea of space curvature works ok mathematically, but doesn't really answer the questions of (1) what is gravity? and (2) what is space?

    Why can't we describe gravity as the effect of very long superstrings that connect between masses? Information can certainly propagate along the superstring at some velocity v = speed of light = sqrt(F/u); F = tension and u = linear density.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  9. May 16, 2009 #8

    malawi_glenn

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    What is gravity: Curvature in space-time, which particles etc. create. The motion of particles are geodesics in this space-time curvature. (that was the answer what gravity is and how it works, those questions are interchangeable in physics)

    Space: The arena where physics takes place. I can help you find decent books in philosophy of physics if you want =)

    This is always a trick, that one comes with an "idea" with the phrase "Why can't we?"
    It is the person who has the "idea" that should argue WHY WE CAN, by demonstrating this:

    i) Formulate the idea into math

    ii) Postulate new observables (should not only be able to explain known phenomenon, but also predict new)

    iii) The new observables should be detectable

    Also this is not a post related to the original question, and hence you should make a new thread. Why asking me specific questions in a thread where "the need of higgs boson" is discussed? This is bad forum manner I would say.

    Third, we don't discuss our own speculative, pet theories, here - read and follow the forum rule - that is good forum manner.
     
  10. May 16, 2009 #9

    Andrew Mason

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    I don't want to turn this thread into a speculative free-for-all, but it is apparent that the concept of space and mass are inextricably tied together. One cannot define an inertial frame of reference without reference to a mass. And one cannot define co-ordinates of space-time without an inertial frame of reference. So the Higgs boson, if it explains mass/inertia, is a pretty fundamental part of reality. It should to be a part of any possible universe in which gravity exists.

    Dark matter may or may not be part of our universe (which did not exist before the big bang). So, if the Higgs boson exists, and Dark matter was not created in the big bang, the Higgs boson must have pre-dated the big-bang. That was kind of where my initial question was going.

    AM
     
  11. May 16, 2009 #10
    According to the big bang model the very fabric of the universe inflated like a balloon from a pea sized confinement and everything in it expanded. But that's just a model, we don't know for sure what really happened.
     
  12. May 16, 2009 #11
    My post from last night seems to be removed. It is fascinating to chat with knowledgable people from all over the world. I live in America where freedom of speech is taken for granted. I've never experience censorship before. A lot of time and thought go into my posts. To have them edited/removed by closeminded censors breaks my heart.

    I am sorry you are not free to express your ideas. I have no idea how you will discover the truth now. Maybe you will read about it someday.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  13. May 16, 2009 #12
    It seems to me, even for ordinary mass, most of it has nothing to do with the Higgs.
     
  14. May 16, 2009 #13
    I'm with humanino on this one. It also feels like the whole thread is predicated on a misunderstanding of what "mass" means in the standard model. It has absolutely *nothing* to do with gravity. Nothing. Zilch. Nil.

    The use of the Higgs as a mass generation mechanism is simply because we want to have certain symmetries in our theory, and mass terms put in by hand mess those up. I'll leave the reason for the desire of gauge symmetry for another time. Furthermore, as humanino has alluded to, most of the mass of hadrons come from the energy due to the need to cancel colour charge vs heisenberg uncertainty. The "mass" due to the Higgs is some almost inconsequential proportion.

    The standard model and general relativity do not mix. Just because they use the same word "mass" in similar ways, does not mean they actually use them in the same way. If you like, call them different names.
     
  15. May 16, 2009 #14
    I was trying to determine if a Higgs field can be treated like a particle with a large number of vibrating superstrings coming out of it. The idea is that what we experience as mass is just the tugging by all those connecting superstrings.
     
  16. May 16, 2009 #15

    malawi_glenn

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    So a universe only consisting of photons would not be able to exists? Just because an observed using our logic can't define inertial frames - is that a legitimate premise? I am sure that models of a universe where you only have photons exists which exerts gravity.

    What has Dark Matter to do with this? Why shouldn't dark matter have been created in the Big Bang? Is there any reasons for why it shouldn't?
     
  17. May 16, 2009 #16

    malawi_glenn

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    Very very good post! :approve:
     
  18. May 16, 2009 #17

    malawi_glenn

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    This is a very very speculative question, you have not even defined what your "superstrings" are and how they work.

    Dude, if I aksed "can the Higgs boson be treated like a pink elephant which interacts with other coloured elephants?" you would think I have no idea what I am talking about etc.

    Can you stop the speculations and the bad question technique, we are trying to be professional here - don't ask things like "why can't we" etc, in science we motivate WHY our choice of prescription is superior - not why it shouldn't work.
     
  19. May 16, 2009 #18

    madmike159

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    The only answer we have for philosophical questions like these is the Anthropic Principle.
     
  20. May 16, 2009 #19

    malawi_glenn

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    If you don't like the rules, don't post?

    This is not a forum of freedom of speech, this is a forum where we discuss and ask and asnwer questions on contemporary accepted physics. This forum is meant to be a resource for students and others, who want to learn physics - for school - for fun - for career etc. We do not allow speculative posts and links to such - since it can be confusing. Also, this is science, and we deal only with well worked and accepted theories, results etc.

    I ask the same question as Pontius Pilate asked/answered Jesus: What is Truth?
    Physics is not about finding the truth, it is about facts. I now quote Indiana Jones: "If you want to learn about the truth you should take the philosophy class".

    Physics is about describing nature into mathematical language and find phenomenon which can sustain and develop our technical society. Also it is about unification, symmetry and beauty: it is about how to find the most elegant and and most general and symmetric solution. We are trying to find a description of nature, that we can understand by some means. Truth? What is truth?
     
  21. May 16, 2009 #20

    malawi_glenn

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    I can not see how that is related to the lesson I gave how one make progress in physics by having the correct attitude?
     
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