I often have this problem when reading physics books (the kind I can understand) where, because I'm only in High school math, the author explains only in analogies, and the analogies sometimes dont make logical sense.(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I'm reading Steven Weinberg's "Dreams of a Final Theory" and I got to the part where he describes spontaneous symmetry breaking. He says that the equations for the electron and neutrino fields (for example) are symmetrical, interchangable. But the solutions to the equations are not symmetrical, as he says "electrons and W and Z particles have mass, but neutrinos and photons do not." He explains this by saying that where you can mix up the fields you get multiple possible solutions (ex. a solution where an up quark has a higher mass than down, must also have a solution where down is higher than up). He then says "the difference between the two solutions would be simply a matter of which quark we chose to call up and down. Nature as we know it represents one solution of all the equations of the standard model." And then he goes on by how physics predicts a Higgs particle to explain this breaking.

But I'm not so sure this is true, given his description. It seems as though he just gave the answer. The equations can give either an electron with the properties we observe or with those of a neutrino because if it has the properties of a neutrino then we call it a neutrino. Nature is not one solution, but all of them, and thats why we have both electrons and neutrinos. It doesnt seem so far fetched to imagine that an electron and a neutrino are aspects of the same thing.

Obviously I'm misunderstanding him. If someone could explain how.

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**

Join Physics Forums Today!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

# Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking

**Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion**