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Why Higgs produces different masses for electron and muon

  1. Mar 22, 2013 #1

    bcrowell

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    Elementary fermions get their mass from the Higgs field. The electron and the muon have the same charge, i.e., the same coupling to the electroweak interaction. If these two particles are identical except for mass, then how can the Higgs mechanism give rise to different masses for them?
     
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  3. Mar 22, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    All interaction terms Higgs field <-> fermions have independent coupling parameters.
     
  4. Mar 22, 2013 #3

    Bill_K

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    The popular notion that the Higgs field "gives mass" to fermions is misleading. The mass term is actually a product vC where v is the value of the Higgs field (246 GeV) and C is a constant different for each particle and of unknown origin. The Higgs field v only permits the masses to be nonzero. Their actual values depend on BSM physics which gives them mass, encapsulated in the C's.
     
  5. Mar 22, 2013 #4

    bcrowell

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    Thanks for the replies. That seems like an extremely ugly and unsatisfactory situation.
     
  6. Mar 22, 2013 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    Ugly it is.

    To be fair, the SM accommodates fermion masses even without the Higgs mechanism, provided you don't need to renormalize. When you renormalize, you get the condition that the mass from the Higgs mechanism is proportional to the de novo mass, which is even uglier, so most folks prefer to think that the non-Higgs component of the mass is zero, and the only mass comes from the Higgs.

    So essentially, you replace a bunch of random masses in the theory with a bunch of random Yukawa couplings in the theory.
     
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