Friday, December 9, 2011

What if there is no Higgs boson?

What if there is no Higgs boson?:  Physicists are only looking for the Higgs particle because it is the easiest way to access the field. If they don't see it, then it suggests the field is different from the one predicted by the standard model. Normally, particles in fields are like ripples in ponds – photons are ripples in the electromagnetic field, for example. But if the field is more like molasses than water, then the ripples die away too quickly for us to detect.

That means matter might get its mass from a thick Higgs-like field that has no associated particle. To get such a goopy field, theorists need to add in more exotic possibilities – such as new particles or forces of nature...

The existence of a new force, called technicolour, could also give particles mass without the need for a Higgs boson. Technicolour would act like a heavy-duty version of the strong nuclear force, which binds quarks together in the nuclei of atoms. The technicolour force would fill space with pairs of still more new particles, which would form a soup through which other particles would travel, gaining mass in the process....

The existence of a fourth dimension of space, beyond the three we experience, could explain why particles have different masses – a fact that is usually attributed to the Higgs boson.

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