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The Higgs field and the aether

  1. Jun 30, 2012 #1
    I have just watched a video by Professor Brian Cox. In it he describes the proposed Higgs field. If it exists, it is thought that this field permeates all space among other attributes.
    When I heard this, it struck a familiar chord. It sounded almost identicle to the description of the aether, which the 19th century physicists also believed permeated all space.
    My question therefore is what, if anything, do the proposed Higgs field and the old idea of the aether have in common? Or what are their important differences?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    They are both called "field". But apart from that... probably not. The higgs field is a field in quantum field theory, which is Lorentz-invariant by construction and therefore does not have the classical aether.
  4. Jun 30, 2012 #3
    Every elementary particle has a field not just Higgs.
  5. Jun 30, 2012 #4


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    To drive the point home, just a standard run of the mill magnetic field has the same properties. So if you're OK with magnetic fields, there's really nothing more philosophically disturbing about the Higgs field.
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