B What is the shape and orientation os the Higgs field?

1. Mar 22, 2016

CosmicVoyager

Greetings,

Other fields are curved around particles and objects. The Higgs field permeates all of space. What is the shape of the Higgs field lines? Is it parallel lines? Or a grid of perpendicular lines? Is it curved? What is the orientation? What determined the orientation?

Thanks

2. Mar 22, 2016

Staff: Mentor

They are not, and does not sound like a useful model or analogy at all.
So do all other fields.
The Higgs field does not have "field lines". It does not even have a direction, as it is a scalar field.

3. Mar 22, 2016

CosmicVoyager

Does it have a shape? A form? Or is it uniform and equal everywhere? Having trouble understanding it. Every field I know of surrounds something. Nothing is causing the field? I do not see the difference between a field with no shape and no field at all.

4. Mar 22, 2016

Staff: Mentor

Those concepts do not make sense for fields. Does temperature have a shape?
To a very good approximation, yes.
Compare it to temperature. You can have the same temperature everywhere. You still have a temperature.

5. Mar 22, 2016

ChrisVer

You have to "fix" your interpretation of a field... fields don't have shape or surround something.... Even if it varied, it wouldn't have those features.
some can have direction and for that reason they are called vector fields...

6. Mar 23, 2016

Orodruin

Staff Emeritus
As Chris mentions, you will need to fix your view of what a field is. It is simply mathematical way of saying "something which has a value everywhere". Depending on what type of value it has (scalar, vector, etc) we call it a scalar field or a vector field.

When you think about fields you are likely thinking about electric or magnetic fields, because this is usually the first instance of fields people encounter which are actually called fields. These are vector fields and there are a number of useful ways to visualise how they vary in space, such as field lines, which at every point point in the same direction as the vector field. This is, however, not referred to as the "shape", because what you will generally see is a pictorial representation of the field generated by, e.g., a point charge.

It should also be mentioned that there is only one electric and one magnetic field. That you sometimes will hear people refer to "the field of charge q and the field of charge Q" is that electromagnetism follows the superposition principle, i.e., you can figure out how a set of several charges relate to a field by summing their contribution.

You should also already be familiar with several other fields, which are usually not called as such, e.g., pressure and temperature. These are scalar fieds (they have only a value at each point and no direction), but not fundamental fields in the same way as the Higgs or electromagnetic fields.