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

Why is the Higgs Field not considered a fifth fundamental force?

  1. Dec 29, 2013 #1
    Why exactly is it that the Higgs field is not considered a fundamental force? Since the Higgs Boson has been confirmed would that not make it a force as it's presence has been confirmed by the discovery of the boson for the field?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    In some general sense - yes. The effect of this force (in addition to the creation of particle masses) is tiny due to the huge Higgs mass.

    But what would it help to call if a "fifth force"?
  4. Dec 30, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The Higgs mass of 126 GeV is not huge compared to the masses of the W and Z (80 and 90 GeV) which mediate the weak force. As a "fifth force" the Higgs boson could mediate for example between fermion-antifermion pairs or gauge boson pairs, but these particles are extremely short-lived -- with the exception of electrons and muons, and for those cases the coupling constant is extremely small.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  5. Dec 30, 2013 #4

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Normally, it's considered part of the electroweak interaction. But if it makes you happier to call it a fundamental force, go right ahead. "Fundamental" is a term human beings use to categorize, not anything from nature.
  6. Dec 30, 2013 #5
    It is quite different from the "other forces" on account of being spin zero instead of one. But yeah, no-one talks about forces like this in particle physics unless they are giving a seminar for a general audience. Especially when you throw in things like supersymmetry, which cause the categorisation to become even more meaningless.
  7. Jan 1, 2014 #6
    gravity is also different being a spin 2 instead of one. The original post has a point. The Higgs interaction could be considered a 5th force. What makes the Higgs interaction different is the fact that - unlike the other forces - it is not related to a gauge local symmetry and doesn't have any conserved charges associated with it.
  8. Jan 1, 2014 #7
    Yeah sure, but then we could argue that gravity too is really quite a lot different to the spin 1 forces. Some like to argue it isn't a force either. More word games of course.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook