# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?  (Read 913 times)

#### jeffreyH

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##### what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« on: 24/11/2015 14:07:23 »
Some of the mass of an object is acquired through interaction with the Higgs field as far as I know. Is inertial motion a consequence of this interaction? So that once an object is moving at a constant speed this is related to the Higgs mechanism.

#### Bill S

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #1 on: 24/11/2015 15:10:01 »
Jeffrey, I’m a bit puzzled by this; perhaps it has something to do with the way I view the Higgs field.   I wonder if “acquired through interaction” is a bit misleading.  No doubt you are aware of the common misconception that it is motion through the Higgs field that imparts mass; rather like wading through treacle.

My own mental image is more along the lines that the Higgs field is always present, and always non-zero, so any object, the mass of which depends on the Higgs field, has that mass simply by virtue of its co-existence with the Higgs field.

Would viewing it that way make any difference to your thoughts about inertial motion?

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #2 on: 24/11/2015 17:09:39 »
A 'stationary' particle has mass. However we cannot consider anything as stationary because there is considered no universal stationary background to which we can relate a particle's motion. Having said this I do not consider motion to be a prerequisite for mass to be present. However, particles move. The mass of a particle changes with increasing velocity. Does this imply more mass being acquired via the Higgs mechanism? I don't know the answer. I am not considering acceleration. When the speed is constant it is still interacting with the Higgs field. Does it reach an equilibrium with the field which breaks down during acceleration?

EDIT: To get from speed A to speed B there is always acceleration unless dealing with the smallest scales. As far as we know. The fact that there has been acceleration, whether positive or negative, may have an impact upon how particles exhibit mass at a final constant speed. It is like considering the cogs in a gear system. The faster the motion, the faster BOTH cogs move. While this is a very bad analogy it may be better expressed as two wave functions.
« Last Edit: 24/11/2015 17:16:21 by jeffreyH »

#### Bill S

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #3 on: 25/11/2015 00:05:38 »
Matt Strassler says that in the same way that it makes no real sense to talk of motion through empty space, so it makes no sense to talk of motion relative to the Higgs field.  The Higgs field permeates space, and alters space; it does not fill space in the same way that air fills a room.  Presumably this is because motion has to be relative to something, and the Higgs field presents no such "thing".

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #4 on: 25/11/2015 00:26:47 »
Matt Strassler says that in the same way that it makes no real sense to talk of motion through empty space, so it makes no sense to talk of motion relative to the Higgs field.  The Higgs field permeates space, and alters space; it does not fill space in the same way that air fills a room.  Presumably this is because motion has to be relative to something, and the Higgs field presents no such "thing".

Well the Higgs field may permeate space but how can it alter space if motion relative to space is meaningless? It depends upon the definition of space. There are fields IN space but space cannot BE the fields. The motion of an object relative to a field with energy has to have an effect on that object. Take the gravitational field as an example. You cannot say in that instance that the motion of an object relative to the gravitational field makes no sense. It has a definite effect. What is it then about the Higgs field that makes it so different? I don't have the answer. I am curious.

#### Bill S

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #5 on: 26/11/2015 22:57:19 »
Unfortunately, I understand Matt has had a recent career change and has more-or-less stopped blogging.  Otherwise he would be the obvious one to address that.

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #6 on: 26/11/2015 23:16:21 »
I have just been watching one of the Stanford lectures on youtube given by Leonerd Susskind who says that the Higgs field is scalar. It is invariant under Lorentz transformations. What would this mean for non inertial frames of reference?

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##### Re: what does inertial motion tell us about the Higgs field?
« Reply #6 on: 26/11/2015 23:16:21 »