The Higgs Field

  1. If the proposed Higgs field is a mechanism which "decelerates" certain particles (whereas not interacting with others), thus creating mass as we know it, would it follow from this that the field is also, ultimately, the source of gravity? If so, there seems to be a connection between gravity and time (time understood here as temporality/duration) which would ultimately make the Higgs boson a "time particle".

    This idiosyncratic fixation has been circulating in my mind for some time now, and it would be nice to make it go somewhere else than the current "loop" which leads me nowhere.

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. bapowell

    bapowell 1,982
    Science Advisor

    The Higgs field does give other particles mass through direct coupling. Saying it 'decelerates' them isn't really correct. While massive particles gravitate, thereby motivating your argument that the Higgs field may ultimately be the gravitational field. However, even massless particles gravitate (eg deflection of light by massive bodies). Also, Einstein's General Relativity, the well-tested and accepted modern theory of gravity requires that gravity be mediated by a spin 2 particle (the field must be a second-rank tensor). Meanwhile, the Higgs is a spin 0 particle (the field is a scalar), and so it does not possess the necessary degrees of freedom to generate the gravitational interaction as we observe it.

    I'm a little confused why you suggested that the Higgs would be a "time particle".
  4. Well, if I have understood this correctly, "time" as we know it doesn't really exist at the speed of light, or, in this context, "outside" of the Higgs field. I sort of associate time with gravity (as in either one is a consequence of the other, or perhaps even the same phenomenon) - but it's very vague and I may be wrong.
  5. bapowell

    bapowell 1,982
    Science Advisor

    OK. But what does the Higgs field have to do with the speed of light? Gravity is not separate from time. The gravitational force is a manifestation of the geometry of space-time -- the 4-dimensional fabric that makes up our universe.
  6. If I understand this correctly, the Higgs field creates "cosmic treacle" by converting the "pure" energy of fast particles into mass by slowing them down. In doing so, the field not only creates the mass which we associate with gravity but also the temporal conditions we associate with existence. Consequently, I get the feeling that time and gravity may be two sides to the same coin.

    Edited to add: I must shamefully admit that I have been corruped by the speculations of Ed Witten, so I don't really see the Minkowski-defined universe of General Relativity any longer, but rather a terrible kind of brane-based infinity wherein time and gravity are inseparable properties of mass.
  7. bapowell

    bapowell 1,982
    Science Advisor

    Aaahhh...OK. Now I understand you better. That is a very interesting thought Max. A couple caveats, however. The Higgs field is not the only way that particle can obtain mass. For example, QCD effects (from quark condensates e.g.) can spontaneously break symmetries and generate masses. So, it's not necessary that one single entity (ie the Higgs field) generate all the mass in the universe. Also, as I mentioned earlier, gravity is not partial to mass, but energy as well. Even if you had a universe consisting only of photons -- no massive particles anywhere -- you'd have gravity. So your conjectured connection between the "agent of mass endowment" and gravity might not be so clear.

    But, your connection to time is intriguing, and I'd like to think more about that.
  8. OK, see now that only makes it worse. I don't understand the nature of gravity. Is it some kind of "memory" system then? As in, as the joke goes, how a pickled herring is dreaming of the ocean? If so, then gravity ought to be an attractor "backwards" - to the singularity which supposedly existed "before" the big bang, whereas "time" is an expansive (entropic) property of the same energy.
  9. I think it an intriguing idea Max. It feels apt. I'm thinking of the fact that time apparently stops at the event horizon of a black hole, and the intimate relationships between gravity, constant acceleration and the square of time.
  10. bapowell

    bapowell 1,982
    Science Advisor

    It only asymptotically dilates to infinity for distant observers. Those of us unlucky enough to fall into a black hole feel no such effect on the passage of time.
  11. Max, I don't think this is a problem with your understanding, it's a problem with ALL of our understanding. The nature of mass, and Quantum Gravity is THE mystery right now, with the origin and nature of time being imponderable outside of a mathematical or experimental framework.

    @bapowell: Good thing we're subatomic sphaghetti by then, eh? :biggrin:
  12. On a related note... If you happened to - hypothetically - be inside of the event horizon, but not in contact with the singularity (not "spaghettified"), and travelling towards "the outside", would it appear to you as "space itself" stretching out? (Since you obviously can never reach, much less pass it.)
  13. The honest answer to anything past the EH is: "who knows?!"
  14. Ich

    Ich 1,931
    Science Advisor

    You simply can't travel to the outside. No matter what you do, you're going down the r-coordinate with the same certainty as you climb up the t-coordinate outside the EH.
  15. On the bright side, your information might be "smeared" across the EH! Not the happiest thought, but it beats the Information Paradox. Still... ouch!
  16. Are those two statements the same? "You can't travel to the outside" (which I think I already understood, but maybe not) and " ... you're going down the r-coordinate with same certainty ..."

    If I were falling into a really large BH, I could cross the event horizon without hardly noticing, or so I thought. If that were the case, then once inside I imagined the gradients would be small enough that I could putter around in my little rocket as much as I wanted, I just could never get outside (as you say). But would I have to move inexorably toward the center? If I am outside the EH, I can slow the march along the t axis by moving faster along r. If I had infinite energy, I could stop my motion completely along t. Are the conditions inside EH just the reverse (substitute r for t) or is this whole thing just an absurd conjecture based on unknown (to me anyway) physics?
  17. bapowell

    bapowell 1,982
    Science Advisor

    It's not a matter of gradients. Inside the black hole horizon, time-like vectors become space-like, and space-like vectors become time-like. You can no easier move spatially away from the singularity as you can move backwards in time outside the even horizon. You inevitably move towards the singularity.
  18. That's interesting. Does it support my idea that time and gravity is essentially the same force?
  19. Given that gravity is not a force, and time is not a force... no.
  20. Force schmorce... what I mean is that they seem to be *interconnected* in a "drag" sort of way. But I may of course be wrong. I don't do mathematics, only "imagination".
  21. Ok, but this is Physics Forums, not "Imagination Forums". I'm not objecting to the notion of wild speculation, just to that here in the context of pushing a personal theory with no reality in either math OR physics. Saying you could be wrong doesn't immunize you from being blatantly wrong, and ending with "imagination" probably belongs in the lounge.

    EDIT: As for "interconnected"... yeah... spacetime, of which gravity is a geometrical feature. That's pretty basic, and saying that either is a force isn't imagination, it's just fantasy.
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