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Offline Ethos_

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The Higgs field?
« on: 05/12/2012 22:11:33 »
The theory of a Universal Ether has long since been disproven by the Michelson & Morley experiment. This theory proposed that the universe was saturated with a field or substance which gave rise to the gravitational effects we commonly observe. Now science is proposing that we are living in a universe that is saturated with the so-called Higgs Boson. If the large hadron collider  in Switzerland is capable of identifying this field of particles, are we going to, once again, open up the question of an Ether?


 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #1 on: 06/12/2012 04:48:54 »
The theory of a Universal Ether has long since been disproven by the Michelson & Morley experiment. This theory proposed that the universe was saturated with a field or substance which gave rise to the gravitational effects we commonly observe.

The Ether didn't explain gravitational effects.  It was proposed to explain how light (a wave) can travel through empty space, since all other known waves at the time traveled in matter. 

The Higgs field has nothing to do with light propagating in a vacuum, so its unrelated to the ether theory.
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #2 on: 06/12/2012 07:26:14 »
Michelson-Morley proved no such thing! As Einstein explained, his special relativity perfectly explained the null result of MM without denying the existence of aether. Einstein continued to argue for the existence of a luminiferous aether until his peers eventually brow beat him into conceding that it doesn't matter if the aether is or is not a ponderable substance. Einstein's Leyden Address amounts to his begrudging concession speech. Mainstream science has been taken over by mathematicians who only care if a theory produces the right numbers. They could care less about whether it makes any ontological sense or not.

Some historical aether theories attempted to explain the cause of gravity. Their failure to do so was part of the reason they lost favor. Just because the aether models were wrong doesn't mean there is no aether.

Numerous recent experiments seem to have "teleported" quata of information across significant distances instantaneously. If that is true, it will prove the existence of a preferred reference frame, since events cannot be simultaneous in two reference frames with relative motion. A preferred reference frame will reopen the issue of aether.

The Higgs field is mainly mathematical, though some theorists attempt to give it ontological significance.
 

Offline graham.d

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/2012 09:46:48 »
As far as conventional wisdom is concerned, JP is right I believe. I would recommend reading Einstein's Leyden Address too; I had never read this and thank Phractality for pointing it out. His final paragraph...

"Recapitulating, we may say that according to the General Theory of Relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an Aether. According to the General Theory of Relativity space without Aether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this Aether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it."

... is quite a good summary of his view and, I think, a view that is quite far sighted given that he said this in 1920. It points, correctly, to the issue of existance of an Aether to be one of definition and that the Michelson-Morley experiment certainly ruled it out as any sort of rigid medium through which electromagnetic waves are transmitted. It does allow for some definition as a state of space-time that is different from nothing at all, which is really very pertinent to recent cosmological ideas and, to the existance of scalar fields.

I am wary of using the term Aether though, as it carries with it the older definitions, which are clearly false and misleading to anyone trying to understand physics - particularly electrodynamics. 
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/2012 14:49:46 »
To add a little to my original post:

We don't have a big problem with the idea of gravity, which can exist in a vacuum and pull or push particles around.  The Higgs field is similar: it exists in a vacuum and rather than pushing/pulling particles, it interacts with particles to make it harder to accelerate them with a push or pull.  This gives them mass.

Aether was thought of of a some sort of material that filled all space and somehow wiggled to allow light waves to travel (much as the air wiggles to allow sound to travel).  This is the idea that was disproved by MM.  Gravity, the Higgs field and similar structures that fill space but aren't associated with light traveling a not disproved by the MM result.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #5 on: 06/12/2012 18:12:54 »

  This is the idea that was disproved by MM.  Gravity, the Higgs field and similar structures that fill space but aren't associated with light traveling a not disproved by the MM result.
I stand corrected my friend. For some reason, I got the impression that the Aether theory was somehow also responsible for the gravitational effect. This resulting from the shading effect of one body upon another. Because the two objects cancelled out the Aether pressure between them, they would be forced together as a result. I'm not sure where I read about this theory but evidently it doesn't hold any water.
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #6 on: 06/12/2012 19:17:17 »
Ah, that sounds like Le Sage's theory of gravity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage%27s_theory_of_gravitation) in which objects are hit by some field of particles throughout the universe and the shading (from these particles) of one object by another causes them to move towards each other.

Feynman has a good explanation of it and why it was discarded that you can view at this link.  Essentially a moving object would experience friction from the Le Sage's particles which isn't observed.

This is characteristic of a lot of theories that attempt to explain forces as due to a field of some sort of matter: they seemed to work until some non-matter-like properties of the field became evident. 

What's interesting is that most of these theories were replaced by classical field theories in which fields do not act like matter.  But then classical field theories were replaced by quantum field theories in which these fields can give rise to particles: e.g. the photon or Higgs particles.  However, this is really the result of everything in modern quantum theory being reducible to fields, where the properties we associate with matter and the properties we associate with force fields come from fundamental differences on the quantum level between these types of fields.
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #7 on: 06/12/2012 20:45:27 »
To add a little to my original post:

We don't have a big problem with the idea of gravity, which can exist in a vacuum and pull or push particles around.  The Higgs field is similar: it exists in a vacuum and rather than pushing/pulling particles, it interacts with particles to make it harder to accelerate them with a push or pull.  This gives them mass.

Aether was thought of of a some sort of material that filled all space and somehow wiggled to allow light waves to travel (much as the air wiggles to allow sound to travel).  This is the idea that was disproved by MM.  Gravity, the Higgs field and similar structures that fill space but aren't associated with light traveling a not disproved by the MM result.

As Einstein explained, SR is the same whether light is or is not a wiggling motion of some medium, and SR perfectly explains the null result of MM. Therefore, MM does not disprove the existence of aether. I agree with Einstein that there is an aether, which is an ultra-dense, ultra-stiff solid (not a swirling vapid fluid); light propagates thru the aether as a transverse wiggle of the medium. The speed of light can be explained by the formula for acoustic shear waves in a solid, which tells us the ratio of the aether's inertial density to its shear modulus. cs = √(G/ρ)

This formula closely resembles the formula c = 1/√(με). This hints that permeability and permittivity may be closely related to the inertial density and shear modulus of aether. Permeability and permittivity are mathematical parameters defined in terms of the speed of light, so they do not explain the speed of light.

Not all aether models ignore gravity. Some postulate aether as the medium of both light and gravity. The trouble is that none of them explained gravity adequately. This does not mean there can't be an aether model which does explain both light and gravity. We just have to think outside the box and come up with a better model.

Perhaps the Higgs field, and its ontological model, can explain gravity. My understanding of the theory is very limited, but I think it has only provided an explanation of inertial, not gravity.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #8 on: 06/12/2012 20:57:15 »



Not all aether models ignore gravity. Some postulate aether as the medium of both light and gravity. The trouble is that none of them explained gravity adequately. This does not mean there can't be an aether model which does explain both light and gravity. We just have to think outside the box and come up with a better model.

Perhaps the Higgs field, and its ontological model, can explain gravity. My understanding of the theory is very limited, but I think it has only provided an explanation of inertial, not gravity.
As thought experiment; Might the Higgs field be just that, only a geometric field without the long sought after particle we call the Higgs Boson? If this turns out to be true, might the possibility arise that this field could explain the medium thru which both light and gravity propagate?
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #9 on: 06/12/2012 21:10:24 »
Ah, that sounds like Le Sage's theory of gravity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage%27s_theory_of_gravitation) in which objects are hit by some field of particles throughout the universe and the shading (from these particles) of one object by another causes them to move towards each other.

Feynman has a good explanation of it and why it was discarded that you can view at this link.  Essentially a moving object would experience friction from the Le Sage's particles which isn't observed.

Feynman's simplistic refutation of LeSage model is fallacious. He ignores LeSage's postulate that his particles move billions of times faster than light. Sub-light-speed motions are insignificant by comparison, so they do not suggest any significant drag. However, that ultra-high speed of LeSage's particles does present a more serious problem with his model. If gravity were caused by absorbing those particles, the masses would absorb the energy equivalent of their own mass in about a picosecond. The late Tom VanFlandern proposed that a few of LeSage's particles are absorbed, and their energy is carried away by the many which are randomly scattered. At least 10^20 must be scattered for each one that is absorbed. I personally discarded VanFlandern's explanation and came up with my own, but I'm forbidden to talk about that here.

I personally believe we should not be discussing the Higgs field, here, either. It is a new theory, one portion of which is now widely accepted. Just because a theory is accepted by a few mainstream scientists doesn't make it a mainstream theory.
 

Offline Phractality

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #10 on: 06/12/2012 21:18:09 »

As thought experiment; Might the Higgs field be just that, only a geometric field without the long sought after particle we call the Higgs Boson? If this turns out to be true, might the possibility arise that this field could explain the medium thru which both light and gravity propagate?

The Higgs Boson is no longer sought after; it has been found by LHC. At least something fitting mainstream expectations of the Higgs particle has been proven to exist. I don't believe this proves the whole theory, though. Any speculations about how the Higgs field might cause gravity should not be discussed in the mainstream forum.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #11 on: 06/12/2012 21:28:21 »


I personally believe we should not be discussing the Higgs field, here, either. It is a new theory, one portion of which is now widely accepted. Just because a theory is accepted by a few mainstream scientists doesn't make it a mainstream theory.
I'm new here so, presumably, someone else will have to determine the value of this discussion and where it should be placed. With respect to the scientists that regard it as "mainstream", I suppose it may be proper to leave it here. Nevertheless, you make an interesting point, to which, we may need to move this discussion to the new theories section. In any event, that will have to be addressed by someone with greater rank than I.
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #12 on: 06/12/2012 22:27:25 »
If they find the Higgs particle (they're pretty sure they have, but not confident enough to claim it yet), it will provide evidence for a theory that explains where mass comes from, but not the speed of light or gravity. 

While you probably could come up with other Higgs theories that explain those two things on top of mass, you'd have no evidence to support them over the model that explains neither.  To choose one of those over the current Higgs model, you'd have to come up with a test to distinguish them and then go out and run that test.
 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #13 on: 06/12/2012 23:03:14 »
If they find the Higgs particle (they're pretty sure they have, but not confident enough to claim it yet),

Quite true JP, I believe the preferred talking points define the new evidence as: "a Higgs like particle"
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #14 on: 09/12/2012 00:16:35 »
Isn't the Higgs field about the inertial properties, in all types of acceleration? Trying to explain that, but not mass per se JP? You have uniform motion, you have uniform (constant) accelerations becoming a 'gravity' according to Einstein equivalence principle, and then you have non uniform accelerations creating the dynamical Casimir effect?

If the Higgs are right then all of those are due to a Higgs field, right? And inertia would then not be equivalent to 'gravity'. And the equivalence principle would be wrong?
==

Keep writing wrong, still inside WOW here :)
« Last Edit: 09/12/2012 00:22:07 by yor_on »
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #15 on: 09/12/2012 17:23:26 »
All those GR effects you're describing assume that inertial mass and gravitational mass are equivalent.  To describe them in terms of a field like the Higgs, that field would have to explain the equivalence between those two effects. 

What the Higgs does is explain how inertial mass comes to be, but since it doesn't speak at all about gravitational mass, it can't be an explanation for those effects.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #16 on: 11/12/2012 16:08:04 »
The Higgs has nothing to do with what we call proper mass as I think. It has a lot more to do with pressures and resistance expressed in accelerations to me. But it still seems to bring havoc to the equivalence principle?
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #17 on: 11/12/2012 16:24:11 »
Well, we already know quantum mechanics doesn't play well with general relativity, so why does the Higgs bring more problems?  As I understand it, it's just an explanation for why inertia exists.  It says nothing about gravity.  We know that on large scales inertial and gravitational mass appear to be equivalent, which presumably will have to be explained in the future.  I don't see how the Higgs causes problems for that undiscovered mechanism...
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #18 on: 12/12/2012 03:38:27 »
I'm not sure JP. It's just that, as you seem to mean, inertia and gravity are like two sides of the same coin macroscopically. And thinking of a 'space elevator' describing how light would 'bend' to a uniform constant acceleration, locally perceived as a gravity, it seems to me that a Higgs field throw some pretty big wrenches in such a reasoning?

That light 'bending' is what GR is about as I think? I've seen the Higgs mechanism presented as only discussing inertia under SR (no gravity included), but if it exist it will be accountable for the above too, right?
==

To better see the point, that light 'bending' is a constant, uniformly moving as far as I know. The Higgs mechanism is said to not discuss uniform motions as I got it? It only discuss accelerations.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2012 04:27:31 by yor_on »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #19 on: 12/12/2012 04:08:58 »
And checking up on it I'm not even sure if the way I interpret a Higgs mechanism is accurate?

"The Higgs field was first proposed in 1964 and is still a key element of the Standard Model of particle physics; it is needed to confer the property of mass on the fundamental particles. In the theory, all particles are intrinsically massless until acted upon by the Higgs field. The quantum of the Higgs field is the Higgs boson. Attempts to detect the Higgs boson, and therefore to verify the Higgs field as the mass-generating mechanism of the Standard Model, have been unsuccessful. The current best hope is on the forthcoming Large Hadron Collider at CERN scheduled to go on line in 2007.

Even if the Higgs field is experimentally discovered, however, that will still not explain the origin of inertial mass of ordinary matter. The Higgs field applies only to the electro-weak sector of the Standard Model. The mass of ordinary matter is overwhelmingly due to the protons and neutrons in the nuclei of atoms. Protons and neutrons are comprised of the two lightest quarks: the up and down quarks. The rest masses of their constituent quarks (approx. 0.005 and 0.010 GeV/c2 for the up and down quarks respectively) which could be attributed to the Higgs field comprise only about one percent of the masses of the protons and neutrons (0.938 and 0.940 GeV/c2 respectively). The remainder of the proton and neutron masses would have to be attributed to contributions from the gluon field strong interaction energies plus smaller electromagnetic and weak fields contributions which would not be affected by a Higgs field. The origin of inertial mass of ordinary matter is thus a wide open question." from http://www.calphysics.org/inertia.html

Ignoring the rest of the article, for now :) it still seems to propose an idea of what 'mass' is, if you go from the first sentences of the article? "all particles are intrinsically massless until acted upon by the Higgs field" but as they also point out, it can't describe proper mass, as matter. And it still causes me a headache to see the implications for GR?


 

Offline Ethos_

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #20 on: 12/12/2012 17:22:15 »
Ah, that sounds like Le Sage's theory of gravity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage%27s_theory_of_gravitation) in which objects are hit by some field of particles throughout the universe and the shading (from these particles) of one object by another causes them to move towards each other.

What's interesting is that most of these theories were replaced by classical field theories in which fields do not act like matter.

This is interesting and causes me to ask the following question. If fields don't act like matter, and the Higgs field exists, what would preclude it from acting similar to the debunked Le Sage's theory? If of course, these fields could also produce this pressure. Just to be clear, I'm not proposing a new theory here, I'm just asking a question.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2012 17:27:37 by Ethos_ »
 

Offline JP

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #21 on: 12/12/2012 20:39:24 »
The problem with a matter field like Le Sage's is what Feynman says in the above youtube link: if you're stationary in a matter field it seems to work, but as soon as you start moving, more of the matter impacts you (and harder) from the front and less (and weaker) from behind.  No field that I know of acts like this under motion, but I'm not a Higgs expert!
 

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Re: The Higgs field?
« Reply #21 on: 12/12/2012 20:39:24 »

 

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