The higgs field?

  • #1
I'm wondering who out there believes a Higgs field exists, and why you do/don't believe that? It seems like an aether theory to me...
 
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  • #2
Hans de Vries
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I'm wondering who out there believes a Higgs field exists, and why do you believe that? It seems like an aether theory to me...


The whole theory behind it, mass generation with a φ4 sym-
metry breaking self-interaction term just uses a minimal set
of new assumptions and the non-Abelian Higgs/Kibble effect
follows largely from group theory and standard Lagrangian
procedures while the predictions have been excellent so far.

So some of it just must be right. Something must be there
which at least acts as the Higgs field in the correctly pre-
dicted results even if no Higgs particle is found.


Regards, Hans
 
  • #3
I'm wondering who out there believes a Higgs field exists, and why you do/don't believe that? It seems like an aether theory to me...

Why people believe in existence of Higgs boson? In 1970th the problem of the mass origin was reduced to (or replaced by) the problem of symmetry breaking. If one believes that mass can only be originated by symmetry breaking, then Higgs mechanism is one of the simplest explanations. This is probably the only argument in favour of Higgs boson.

Higgs boson has not yet been detected despite all the effort. But this is not why I don't believe in Higgs mechanism.

What I don't like in this theory is that Higgs field interacts differently with different particles. For instance, the coupling constants are different for all lepton flavours, leading consequently to different masses of electron, muon and tau. This is probably caused by the general defect of the Standard Model, that makes no difference among lepton flavours. How comes that Higgs particle can distinguish, say, between electron and muon? Apart from coupling with Higgs, all the terms in Lagrangian are exactly the same for electron, muon and tau. According to the Standard Model, Higgs particle "knows" how to distinguish among them.

There is another thing that I don't understand. Why the symmetry need to be broken? We choose the Higgs field potential in a such a form that makes symmetry breaking ... well, let's say possible. But all this only for the sake of obtaining quadratic "mass term" in Lagrangian. Looks like we are trying to adjust the theory to experiment without reasonable justification (we know that particles have masses, and we "invent" symmetry breaking because we want to have quadratic term in Lagrangian).

What is really sad about all this, is that most physicists do not even consider any other options for the origin of mass. And all this is despite of all the effort contributed by great scientists, such as Dirac, Poincare, Abragham, Lorentz, Feinman and many others. They were all considering non-point-like models of elementary particles, but the Standard Model supporters insist that all particles are point-like, and they believe that every particle has tags or labels that help to differentiate it from other particles. Higgs boson and gluons can "read" those labels. If the particle is labeled "electron", then Higgs particle does not interact with it as strong as with "muon", and gluons do not interact at all with such particle. This is in brief some of the "religious beliefs" of the Standard Model. If you believe in Higgs, then you should believe in this too.
 
  • #4
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I'm wondering who out there believes a Higgs field exists, and why you do/don't believe that? It seems like an aether theory to me...

It really is unlikely that it exists, and it is beccoming like the old epicycle theories used to explain observations that did not well-match the wrong theories involving the Sun revolving around the Earth.

When particle theories do not work--e.g. the Weinberg Salam Glashow theory yields totally wrong results for masses-- instead of admitting error, the perpetrators just pretend that imaginary "Higgs bosons" are doing their thing. Higgs bosons were also introduced to rationalize incorrect theories of cosmological inflation.

What happens when the supercollider does not find these non-existent Higgs tthings? Will the Higgsians admit error? I doubt it.

The situation though is interesting from a psychological/sociological angle.
 
  • #5
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When particle theories do not work--e.g. the Weinberg Salam Glashow theory yields totally wrong results for masses-- instead of admitting error, the perpetrators just pretend that imaginary "Higgs bosons" are doing their thing.

Nobody who has actually read the paper of Weinberg and Salam could possibly write such a thing. I would encourage you to read the paper. Strongly.
 
  • #6
bapowell
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When particle theories do not work--e.g. the Weinberg Salam Glashow theory yields totally wrong results for masses-- instead of admitting error, the perpetrators just pretend that imaginary "Higgs bosons" are doing their thing. Higgs bosons were also introduced to rationalize incorrect theories of cosmological inflation.
I think you acutely misunderstand the GWS theory, and perhaps much of gauge theory in general. Gauge and fermion mass terms violate the local symmetries believed to generate the fundamental interactions. Spontaneous symmetry breaking, in the form of the Higgs-Kibble mechanism, is one way of generating masses while retaining these vital symmetries. SSB was not invented to fudge erroneous predictions of the GWS theory.

It is quite possible that the Higgs mechanism is not afterall relevant to particle physics, but then gauge theory itself, which has proven extremely successful (QED, GWS, QCD) is in dire straights. Keep in mind that SSB is alive and well in condensed matter systems -- think superconductivity, broken U(1) gauge symmetry, and Meissner effect.

With respect to inflation, Higgs fields were not invented for this purpose, and inflation was not invented because of Higgs fields -- so I fail to see the connection you are tying to make. Indeed, when Guth initially conceived the idea of inflation, an obvious (and admittedly exciting) candidate for the inflaton field was one of the GUT Higgs fields. However, it was realized very early on that inflation based on these kinds of potentials (1st order transitions) were not viable and were soon abandoned. As early as 1982 Linde had already advanced 2nd order transitions as a means of driving inflation.
 
  • #7
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<<Nobody who has actually read the paper of Weinberg and Salam could possibly write such a thing. I would encourage you to read the paper. Strongly.
>>

Did not the papers yield a result that electrons have no masses?

My understanding is that is the actual result.

The post-result addition of the mystical Higgs thing is not the result of the direct theory, but rather was added AFTERWARDS, right?

Am I incorrect about something I just wrote?

What happens if the Higgs boson is not found in the supercollider experiments? Will you think it does not exist? If so, you will be in the position of adamently defending the Weinberg et al theory that will have turned out to have been wrong.
 
  • #8
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The post-result addition of the mystical Higgs thing is not the result of the direct theory, but rather was added AFTERWARDS, right?

Wrong!

Read the papers.
 
  • #9
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It is quite possible that the Higgs mechanism is not afterall relevant to particle physics, but then gauge theory itself, which has proven extremely successful (QED, GWS, QCD) is in dire straights.

I don't think it's nearly that dire.

You can have Technicolor, for example.
 
  • #10
Did not the papers yield a result that electrons have no masses?

My understanding is that is the actual result.

The post-result addition of the mystical Higgs thing is not the result of the direct theory, but rather was added AFTERWARDS, right?

Am I incorrect about something I just wrote?

I agree that Higgs mechanism was added afterwards, but it does not mean that GWS "yield a result that electrons have no masses".

Most physicists think that mass can only be resulted from quadratic term in Lagrangian, that is really missing in the original "symmetric" GWS theory (i.e. before the symmetry breaking).

If we consider particles as not-point-like, the inertial properties of the particles appear without quadratic terms.
 
  • #11
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I'm wondering who out there believes a Higgs field exists, and why you do/don't believe that? It seems like an aether theory to me...

I don't see how that necessarily follows, that would mean electrodynamics is an aether theory. I know what you mean though sometimes we do come close to reintroducing ether, but I don't see where that applies to field theory in gravitation unless of course you introduce a gravitational equivalent to a luminiferous aether and I see no sign of that. I agree with the above posts, this is a semantic issue, ether is not a product of the energy concerns in the maths.

Another point is people do believe in the existence of Higgs the hypothesis is as yet not a theory, but it is a decent hypothesis that is adequately testable so it is not an unsubstantiated belief, it is an educated "guess". It would seem unusual to have a force without a mediator. There is a possible overflow here, where the forces are particle driven but are merely a sort of extension of one force to lower energy concerns ( so that gravity needs no mediator). It could be that this is valid, but we will not know unless we rule out Higgs. That is good science.
 
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  • #12
Vanadium 50
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I agree that Higgs mechanism was added afterwards

Did you read the original papers? I don't understand why people keep saying this.
 
  • #13
Did you read the original papers? I don't understand why people keep saying this.

Are you talking about GWS model, or WS model? Please note that Glashow is one of the contributors. See for instance S.L.Glashow, M.Gell-Mann, Ann. of Phys., 15, 437 (1961). In this paper SU(2)xU(1) model is considered as one of the options, but it is also noted that the gauge symmetry is broken (for unknown reason) because particles have masses.
 
  • #14
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The paper that predicts the W and Z is Weinberg's "A Model Of Leptons" (1967), Weinberg doesn't get all the details right, but in this paper he invents a W and Z and uses the Higgs mechanism (reference 3) to give the leptons and W,Z bosons mass.
 
  • #15
The paper that predicts the W and Z is Weinberg's "A Model Of Leptons" (1967), Weinberg doesn't get all the details right, but in this paper he invents a W and Z and uses the Higgs mechanism (reference 3) to give the leptons and W,Z bosons mass.

Gauge model with W+-, Z and photon was earlier considered by Glashow (Glashow S.L., Nucl. Phys., 22, 579 (1961)).

Weinberg has unified this model with SSB.

Salam was only considering SU(2) model with W+- and neutral boson that was considered as photon in his model (A.Salam, J.C.Ward, Nuovo Cimento, XI, 568 (1959))
 
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  • #16
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You can have Technicolor, for example.

But the techni-rho or other bound states will look a lot like a higgs boson. And the condensate will look a lot like a higgs field. I think what bapowell was suggesting is that if symmetry breaking ends up not being viable (which seems highly unlikely, and would require having no condensate field,etc) than something is wrong with the SU(2)xU(1) weak model.
 
  • #17
What happens if the Higgs boson is not found in the supercollider experiments? Will you think it does not exist? If so, you will be in the position of adamently defending the Weinberg et al theory that will have turned out to have been wrong.

Quote from Wikipedia:

"If the Higgs boson is not found, it will mean that the simplest implementation of the Higgs mechanism and spontaneous symmetry breaking as they are currently formulated are invalid, requiring an alternative model implementation of SSB and the Higgs mechanism operative in the accepted theory of Electroweak Interactions."

The Matrix will not change its main thesis.
 
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  • #18
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<<Most physicists think that mass can only be resulted from quadratic term in Lagrangian, that is really missing in the original "symmetric" GWS theory (i.e. before the symmetry breaking).>>

I'm trerating the symmetry breaking togerther with the Higgs boson.

My point is that the actual theory predicted zero masses,. So the theory gave a clearly wrong result. Afterwards things were done to try to salvafe it. And there is not especially convincing reason to believe the fudge. I realize, as yiou said, that most physicists belive it, but I consider that a psychological phenomenon. There is not good experimental proof for this strange fudge.
 
  • #19
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I don't think that the people who believe in the Higgs bosons are going to be convinced by the arguments I am making here.

But I would be interested in your responses to a question I asked earlier (but was not responded to). What if the supercollider does not find the supposed Higgs boson? It was touted to find it.

So what would happen? Would you agree it likely does not exist?

Would you reconsider whether your ability to decide things based on your aesthetic intuition is as good as you assumed?

I suspect that experimental reality will not make much of a dent, at least in the near term. In particle physics it seems to me that wrong theories are often not realized as wrong--just patched up to become more complicated wrong theories in need of more patching.

So again, my question is "Would you abandon the Higgs boson theory if the supercollider does not find it?"
 
  • #20
I don't think that the people who believe in the Higgs bosons are going to be convinced by the arguments I am making here.

But I would be interested in your responses to a question I asked earlier (but was not responded to). What if the supercollider does not find the supposed Higgs boson? It was touted to find it.

So what would happen? Would you agree it likely does not exist?

Would you reconsider whether your ability to decide things based on your aesthetic intuition is as good as you assumed?

I suspect that experimental reality will not make much of a dent, at least in the near term. In particle physics it seems to me that wrong theories are often not realized as wrong--just patched up to become more complicated wrong theories in need of more patching.

So again, my question is "Would you abandon the Higgs boson theory if the supercollider does not find it?"

Your questions need to be addressed to someone else, not to me. Because I'm sure that Higgs boson is "fudge", as you said. It will never be detected.

But they have spent over 30 years and billions of USD trying to detect it. Moreover, thousands of people (including majority of opinion leaders) spent their lives on developing/supporting this idea. So, it is very natural that they will be unlikely to abandon this "sacred cow".
 
  • #21
ZapperZ
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This has gone long enough.

If you wish to discuss the POLITICS surrounding the search for the Higgs, or the practices of high energy physics, please use another forum, either the Politics, Social Science, General Discussion, etc. Topics of discussion in the physics forums of PF should contain only subject with actual physics content. This thread has meandered well outside of that!

Zz.
 

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