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

The Higgs as the cause of Time?

  1. Jul 20, 2012 #1
    Sorry for yet another one about the Higgs from a layman, and a perhaps tricky title.
    I was discussing with a friend and he came with this reasoning:

    Without the interaction with the Higgs field all the particles would be massless. Meaning that they would travel at the speed of light. Meaning that such a world 'would not experience the passage of time'.
    Interaction with the Higgs field gives them mass and slows them down to < c. Travelling at < c causes time to start ticking for these particles.

    So his reasoning was that although the popular phrase frequenly quotes the Higgs as 'God's particle' because it is the origin of mass, it would be much more relevant to give it the title for being the origin of time (not of time itself of course but of the phenomenon of the material universe experiencing the passage of time).

    Does that make any sense? I have read elsewere that the Higgs is only responsible for part of the particles mass and that even without the Higgs particles would have some mass anyway. If so attributing the origin of the experiencing of time to the Higgs would be wrong.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Elementary particles. And this assumes that no other system gives them a mass.
    Quark masses are about 1% of the proton mass, most of the mass comes from binding energy. You could get massive objects without the higgs, too.

    Time does not need massive particles. Just massless particles flying around (which would not be the case!( are fine. They would not permit life which can discuss the concept of time - so what?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook