QR4.4.7 The God Particle

The weak force required massive particles to pop out of empty space but the mass had to come from somewhere, so the answer was of course another field! The Higgs field was needed to provide mass for the standard model so the search for the Higgs particle became the holy grail of physics. It attracted over 30 billion dollars in funding and in 2012, after a fifty-year search, CERN found a resonance in the right range and physicists all over the world breathed a sigh of relief. Some called it the “God particle”, perhaps because it answered their prayers. Finding a million, million, million, millionth of a second 125GeV signal meant the standard model lived on! Yet the Higgs particle:

1. Doesn’t explain mass. The Higgs flash adds no value to general relativity, our best theory of mass to date, nor does it explain the dark energy and dark matter that is most of the universe. Its only role is to rescue the standard model:

“… the Higgs field allows us to reconcile … how … weak interactions work, that’s a far cry from explaining the origin of mass or why the different masses have the values they do.” (Wilczek,2008) p202

The Higgs isn’t about mass in general, just a mass to sustain the standard model.

2. Is medieval circular logic. If the Higgs particle creates mass, what gives it mass? If another Higgs, what gives it mass and so on? A Higgs particle that begets itself is indeed a God particle! Some say the field itself creates the mass but what then does the Higgs boson do? Weren’t bosons invented to avoid invisible fields causing visible effects in the first place? That like creates like harks back to the medieval fallacy that only water can cause wetness that science debunked by creating water from hydrogen and oxygen gases that aren’t watery at all. The circular logic that mass has to create mass is medieval thinking.

3. Is impossible by quantum theory. In a carefully crafted press release, CERN claimed that zero-spin would confirm the Higgs then found it so, but quantum theory clearly states that a spin-zero point particle with mass is impossible (Comay,2009). All quantum particles with mass have spin-half and only matter-antimatter mixes like mesons have zero spin. As not-yet-found higher order mesons have zero-spin, are in the right mass range and have the same photon decay and detection frequency, the Higgs that CERN found could well be a top or anti-top meson.

In essence, the Higgs is medieval logic that explains at best 4% of the mass of the universe in a way that quantum theory says is impossible. That what at best explains at best a tiny fraction of the mass of the universe is now called the “origin of mass” is a tribute to the power of marketing not science. To sustain the naïve idea that inert particles are pushed around by other particles, physics had to invent virtual particles that don’t exist in any normal sense. The irony that physical realism is now justified by virtual agents leads to the strange conclusion that mass is more virtual than physical:

The Higgs mechanism is often said to account for the origins of mass in the visible universe. This statement, however, is incorrect. The mass of quarks accounts for only 2 percent of the mass of the proton and the neutron, respectively. The other 98 percent, we think, arises largely from the actions of gluons. But how gluons help to generate proton and neutron mass is not evident, because they themselves are massless.” (Et,Ulrich,& Venugopalan, 2015)

Nearly all an atom’s mass comes from its nucleus of protons and neutrons but only 2% of their mass comes from their quark constituents so massless gluons that are virtual not real are said to create the other 98%. According to the standard model, most of the mass around us comes from massless virtual particles!

The Higgs is an imaginary agent invented to explain another imaginary agent that was invented to explain an observed effect, namely neutron decay. A model that uses one invisible thing to explain another becomes a theoretical house of cards, hence finding the “god particle” hasn’t led to a single other discovery or benefit.