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What is mass according to the Standard Model?

  1. Jul 3, 2012 #1
    Can someone explain me what is mass according to the Standard Model?
    I read that the Higgs boson "gives" mass to particles but I don´t understand what that means. :confused:

    Here's what I think I got so far :
    There is a field called Higgs field in all spacetime. It has a value for empty space wich happens to be different than 0. A perturbation in the field is a Higgs boson.
    What is mass in all this?

    Extra questions
    I read that Higgs field is a quantum field: Does that mean that it is a discrete field and that the value of the field for any given position is a multiple of some minimun amount?
    And it is a scalar field, a vector field or what?

    Thank you :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2012 #2


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    Science Advisor

    It has a value different than 0 in vacuum. Here vacuum does not mean 'empty space' but 'state with lowest energy'; so to reduce the Higgs field value to zero would cost (!) energy. The quantum excitation of the Higgs field is the Higgs boson.

    No, there is no such 'discrete spectrum. Every fundamental particle is described by a 'quantum field' in Quantum Field Theory (QFT); it's a mathematical formalism. The fundamental objects are not classical fields but field operators and they do not have 'a value'; they are not numbers but more complicated mathematical objects

    It's a spin-0 boson. Otherwise a non-vanishing value in vacuum would destroy symmetries like rotational invariance. Only scalar fields can have non-zero vacuum values w/o breaking such symmetries (and we do not observe such a symmetry breaking in nature).
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