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

What does Higgs partcle impart mass to?

  1. Jul 8, 2015 #1
    [Moderator's note: Thread moved to Quantum Physics since it is more appropriate there.]

    O.K., I'm confused: According to How Stuff Works http://science.howstuffworks.com/higgs-boson1.htm

    "Can't matter just inherently have mass without the Higgs boson confusing things? Not according to the standard model. But physicists have found a solution. What if all particles have no inherent mass, but instead gain mass by passing through a field? This field, known as a Higgs field, could affect different particles in different ways. Photons could slide through unaffected, while W and Z bosons would get bogged down with mass. In fact, assuming the Higgs boson exists, everything that has mass gets it by interacting with the all-powerful Higgs field, which occupies the entire universe. Like the other fields covered by the standard model, the Higgs one would need a carrier particle to affect other particles, and that particle is known as the Higgs boson." http://science.howstuffworks.com/higgs-boson1.htm

    Mass = energy and if something has no mass or energy then that something is only hypothetical or a concept IMO. Has anything corporeal with out mass ever been discovered? Photons dont exhist at rest unless I am mistake.If everything gets mass from Higgs, just what is the so called massless particle with no inherant mass before it gets mass. What does Higgs give mass to? What gives Higgs its mass. God? As in God particle.. The article mentioned that photons with no inherent mass pass through uneffected. Makes sense. I believe by inherent mass they mean intrinsic or rest mass. For that matter what is a photon with no mass at rest before it aquires mass of motion from going C. Help!
    "The rest energy is the energy required to creat matter." Nigel Calder
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    This is where you go wrong. Mass may be seen as a type of energy, but all energy is not mass. Photons have both energy and momentum, but no mass.

    You may find the following FAQs of interest:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/do-photons-have-mass.511175/ [Broken]
    https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-is-relativistic-mass-and-why-it-is-not-used-much.796527/ [Broken]

    You can find these, and many more, in the sticky thread https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/relativity-faq-list.807523/ at the top of this forum.

    Nothing massless can be at rest in an inertial frame. This is a direct consequence of special relativity.

    All massive elementary particles in the standard model.

    No, they do not, this is the kind of mass that is imparted by the Higgs field. Without the Higgs, all particles would be massless (well, as good as, there are other ways to break the symmetries involved, but that gets technical).

    The photon does not aquire a mass.

    No physicist with self respect would call it that. The Higgs mass is a consequence of the form of the Higgs potential.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  4. Jul 8, 2015 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This blog-post may help too.
  5. Jul 8, 2015 #4
    Orodruin: Thank you for the clarifications though it wasnt what I expected. What appeared to be contradictions that confused me were the fact that key words like mass and energy and relativistic mass have different meanings depending on context, convention and convenience. Photons have momentum but no mass.Made no sense to me but its more convenient and a physicist knows what a physicist means when these words are used in context of photons. Works for me now that I know. Mass and some other words may differ depending on convention, convenience, or semantics as long as it is used properly and does not have any impact on the predictions of special relativity.
    "Mass may be seen as a type of energy, but all energy is not mass" and Calder says "Mass and energy are equivalent" there is no contradiction. The words mass and energy and maybe equivalent are in different contexts.. I accept this now but it takes getting used to,
    I may have been unclear on my main question.I couldnt conceive of a massless proton or neutron before Higgs interaction.
    All massive elementary particles in the standard model get their mass from Higgs I understood. A massless proton say, passes thorugh the Higgs field and obtains mass. So it is a massless proton before Higgs. Massless in this case is not the same as a planet being massless.Or a marble. Mass in a different context.
    Thank you again.

    Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-does-higgs-partcle-impart-mass-to.822501/

    Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-does-higgs-partcle-impart-mass-to.822501/

    Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/what-is-relativistic-mass-and-why-it-is-not-used-much.796527/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. Jul 9, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Protons and neutrons are not elementary particles. How they obtain their mass is slightly more complicating.
    On the contrary, it is very much he same (at least the marble, with a planet you start getting gravitational effects and if those are relevant you need to go to GR).
  7. Jul 9, 2015 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Nowadays mass is used only in the following sense: Mass is the energy of a particle in its rest frame, i.e. in an inertial system where its center of energy is at rest.
    In the same way, spin is angular momentum of a particle in it's rest frame.
    For a compound object, it is not difficult to imagine it having spin. I.e. the parts of a tennis ball are moving although its center is at rest.
    The kinetic and potential energy of the moving parts making up a compound particle will also contribute to it's mass. That's why compound particles can gain mass by other mechanisms than the Higgs.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What does Higgs partcle impart mass to?
  1. Mass what is it? (Replies: 19)

  2. What is mass? (Replies: 10)