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Thread: How do gauge bosons do their job?

  1. #1 How do gauge bosons do their job? 
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    Apr 2013
    As far as I understand gauge bosons are particles that mediate forces like gravitation (the graviton), electromagnetic (photon), weak&strong force (W+Z bosons / gluons). That is what is usually said when this matter is described. My question is how do I picture the way that those bosons accomplish their job?!

    For example, does a graviton leave a massive particle with the information "there is a massive particle" on board, arrives at another particle, drops off this information and vanishes into thin air? And if yes, how does this create an attractive force between the two major particles?

    I am aware that the concept of gauge bosons might just be a model in our heads to get an understanding of what is going on. Ignoring the fact that I read that some gauge bosons like the graviton are still hypothetical... even with this model in my head I don't quite see how it explains the forces.

    Thanks in advance

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  3. #2  
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    Think of it as a momentum exchange between particles mediated by the gauge boson. In that sense it does not vanish but is absorbed by the particle and has to obey conservation of (four) momentum. That alone doesn't tell you whether it's repulsive or attractive, however. In general, vector bosons like the photon have attractive potentials for particle-antiparticle interactions while repulsive for particle-particle or antiparticle-antiparticle. Tensor bosons, like the graviton, have a universally attractive potential. I'm not sure if there is a convincing analogy, so I'm afraid the best explanation I can give is that it's a bit buried in the math. Experimentally, though, this is what we see, so of course we would structure our theories to fit observation.

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