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Thread: Help me understand a Higgs field

  1. #1 Help me understand a Higgs field 
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    As a none scientist, I have a hard time understanding a Higgs Field. But I understand even scientist have difficulty understanding it, so I might be in great company.

    I have seen several movies about it that explained it very easy for sci-noobs like me,... but after seeing these I am still puzzeled with a lot of open questions.
    One of the movies I looked at was this one:


    Basically my understanding is this.


    1)
    Some particles will move slower through the Higgs-Field,... doing so they will gain mass.
    2) Some particles will move faster through the Higgs-Field,... doing so they will have lesser mass then the particle in example one.

    But I understand a Higgs Field is every where.
    All of the video's I looked at, always and only talked about single particles, they never mentioned multiple particles.

    One of the things I do not get yet...

    - So now we have a large mass, like earth,.... Is the Higgs Field more condensed here compared to 'empty space'? ... or are there just more particles near large entities, interacting with an universally spread Higgs Field?

    If the Higgs Field is universally spread (as portrait in the explainatory movies I watched), regardless of whatever planetary bodies exist within it, ... then why would planetary bodies exist,... if,... though the Higgs Field explains mass and gravity?

    Perhaps the Higgs Field and its bosons (already a difficult thing for me to understand) are independant for the dispersal of particles in the universe?
    So...
    1) You have your Higgs Field, and
    2) You have your particles...
    The particles will interact with the Higgs Field and the Higgs Field will provide the particle with certain parameters whilst it is interacting with it (which whould be always as Higgs Field is everywhere)

    But if the Higgs Field is always interacting with particles, and the Higgs Field is Universally spread... and particles make large Universal structures like the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and so forth,... then what makes them stick together to make these large Universal bodies we can see?

    The Higgs Field, condenses near large planetary bodies? This makes no sence to me.
    I do not think that was the idea of a Higgs Field,.. so what am I not understanding here?

    ....

    My second question is much easier. and most likely a very silly one.

    So we build the LHC. We build the LHC to prove the existance of a Higgs Field. The theory is a Higgs Field is every where. Basically the theory is that particles interacting with a Higgs Field will have a certain mass. And I may be getting it horribly wrong here,....It may be the dumbest question you have seen in years...

    If a Higgs Field is all over the place, then why would smashing particles into eachother proof the existance for a Higgs boson particle?

    I absolutely sincerely appologize for my noobness on this subject. But I really want to know this.


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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    As a none scientist, I have a hard time understanding a Higgs Field. But I understand even scientist have difficulty understanding it, so I might be in great company.
    I don't understand the Higgs mechanism at all. From what I do understand, it isn't clear that the various analogies of particles being "slowed" by interacting with the field actually correspond to the mathematics.

    - So now we have a large mass, like earth,.... Is the Higgs Field more condensed here compared to 'empty space'? ... or are there just more particles near large entities, interacting with an universally spread Higgs Field?
    It is closer to the latter. There are more particles (protons, neutrons, electrons, etc) in the Earth than there are in a grain of dust.

    If the Higgs Field is universally spread (as portrait in the explainatory movies I watched), regardless of whatever planetary bodies exist within it, ... then why would planetary bodies exist,... if,... though the Higgs Field explains mass and gravity?
    The Higgs field is everywhere, and the same everywhere, so that a particle or a planet has the same mass everywhere.

    But, worth noting a couple of things. The Higgs mechanism doesn't directly explain gravity, just the (some of) mass of (some) particles.

    Also, it is not the only source of mass. The vast majority of the mass of protons and neutrons (and therefore of matter) comes from the energy that binds the quarks together in them, rather than the small mass that the Higgs mechanism gives to the quarks.

    But if the Higgs Field is always interacting with particles, and the Higgs Field is Universally spread... and particles make large Universal structures like the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and so forth,... then what makes them stick together to make these large Universal bodies we can see?
    Various forces. Quarks are held together to form protons and neutrons by the strong nuclear force. Protons and neutrons are held together in the nucleus by the residual strong force (that kinda leaks out of the particles). Atoms are held together by electric forces between the atoms. Large collections of atoms are held together by gravity.

    If a Higgs Field is all over the place, then why would smashing particles into eachother proof the existance for a Higgs boson particle?
    I'm not sure I really know the answer to this. Higgs particles are very short lived and very massive. This means that in order to see (*) them you need to try and create them in a place where you can look for them before they disappear. Also, they are pretty massive; one way of generating massive particles is to put a lot of energy into one place by making very high velocity particles collide.

    (*) We don't actually see them; we see a cascade of other particles created as they decay and then those particles decay and/or interact with material around them.

    Hope that helps a bit. I don't know how accurate it is. Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable will correct and fill the gaps...


    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    1) Some particles will move slower through the Higgs-Field,... doing so they will gain mass.
    2) Some particles will move faster through the Higgs-Field,... doing so they will have lesser mass then the particle in example one.
    I think a better way to look at this is that different types of elementary particles interact with the underlying Higgs field to different degrees. For example, a W-boson interacts with it strongly, and hence has a large rest mass. Photons don't interact with the Higgs field at all, and hence they are massless.

    Is the Higgs Field more condensed here compared to 'empty space'?
    No. Don't try to apply the Higgs mechanism to macroscopic objects - the interaction takes place on the scale of elementary particles. And different particles interact with the Higgs in different ways.

    though the Higgs Field explains mass and gravity?
    It only provides a mechanism for the rest mass of particles, not gravity.

    then what makes them stick together to make these large Universal bodies we can see?
    Gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak interactions.

    If a Higgs Field is all over the place, then why would smashing particles into eachother proof the existance for a Higgs boson particle?
    It provides a way to observe not just its effects, but the Higgs particle itself.
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  5. #4  
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    I have some theories of my own. String theory suggests that each of these particles are not particles at all but tiny vibrating strings. They all vibrate in different ways and interact with space time and each other in different ways. Some have been shown to be the same particles just vibrating in different modes. There seems to be a relationship to causality. For example in order for C to happen A and B have to happen first. However we know that when things become very small the rules change. For example and the wave function for a positron matches the wave function for an electron if you reverse the arrow of time. So all these particles may just be tangled lines of causation. The problem with breaking causation is that you cant combine it. In that way the line of causation stops behaving like a wave and more like a particle. That is two lines of causation cant occupy the same space at the same time. So some of these knots may interact with space time in different ways. Some will act like a smooth fish gliding through the water. Others will be like a bear fumbling about. The standard model seeks to find all the different types of particles and classify them. The Higgs Boson is the last one and interacts the most with Space Time. Now that we have found it our understanding is of the universe is that little bit more complete. The Higgs Boson does not exist on its own for very long and decays very quickly into other particles. Hopefully this helps.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    I think one of my biggest intellectual hurts is... that the Higgs Fields explains Empty Space, I just do not get this.

    So now we do not have Empty Space... there is no empty space because... we now have the Higgs Field all around us in 3D, what we used to call "Empty Space"

    But... I know I am a Sci-Noob.... If Higgs Field explains Empty Space,.... The moment you define a particle or something specific,.... What is next to it? if you meausre, it has bounds.

    We now measured a Higgs-boson,... and this explains empty space?

    A noob question,... what is the 'space' between the Higgs-Bosons? A Higgs-Boson can be measured... it has a fixed perimiter. If the object of study has a fixed perimiter and it is many,.. then there should be something between these measurable objects.

    Not?
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  7. #6  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    So now we do not have Empty Space... there is no empty space because... we now have the Higgs Field all around us in 3D, what we used to call "Empty Space"
    This is not new. Before we confirmed the existence of the Higgs field, space was already full of other quantum fields. The Higgs makes no real difference to this.

    what is the 'space' between the Higgs-Bosons? A Higgs-Boson can be measured... it has a fixed perimiter.
    Actually, I assume that like all fundamental particles it has zero size. Between Higgs bosons, and any other particles, there is "empty" space: full of fields such as the electromagnetic field, the Higgs field, etc and a sea of virtual particles popping in and out of existence...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  8. #7  
    Forum Sophomore Estheria Quintessimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Estheria Quintessimo View Post
    So now we do not have Empty Space... there is no empty space because... we now have the Higgs Field all around us in 3D, what we used to call "Empty Space"
    This is not new. Before we confirmed the existence of the Higgs field, space was already full of other quantum fields. The Higgs makes no real difference to this.

    what is the 'space' between the Higgs-Bosons? A Higgs-Boson can be measured... it has a fixed perimiter.
    Actually, I assume that like all fundamental particles it has zero size. Between Higgs bosons, and any other particles, there is "empty" space: full of fields such as the electromagnetic field, the Higgs field, etc and a sea of virtual particles popping in and out of existence...
    Zero or Empty is just a way to say 'we do not know yet'. Zero was a great mathematical discovery.
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