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To find the Higgs boson, we had to build the biggest machine mankind has ever built: the LHC with a collision energy of up to 14 TeV. Inside the sun there is a huge pressure and temperature, but is the energy density high enough for Higgs bosons to be created?

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up vote 35 down vote accepted

You probably know that the mass of the Higgs boson is around $125$ GeV, which means the energy it takes to create a Higgs boson is around $125$ GeV and therefore that the temperature at which significant numbers of Higgs bosons will be created will be given by $kT = 125$ GeV. One GeV is $1.602 \times 10^{-10}$J, so the corresponding temperature is around $10^{13}$K - note that this is an order of magnitude estimate.

Anyhow, the temperature at the centre of the Sun is around $10^7$ K, so it's six orders of magnitude too low to create significant numbers of Higgs bosons.

Even a supernova only gets to a temperature of about $10^{11}$K, which is still two orders of magnitude too low.

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does that mean that they created a particle in the LHC that before only existed during the big bang? Wow! This ignores of course alien LHC equivalents .. – Jens Schauder Aug 18 '14 at 12:37
@JensSchauder: not necessarily. The weasel-word is "significant numbers". It exists in insignificant numbers at lower temperatures. Furthermore, 125GeV and higher cosmic rays are quite common, but the LHC is a lot easier to observe :-) – Steve Jessop Aug 18 '14 at 13:10
Though in a supernova, there is a lot of mass, so you probably make a few Higgs even though the probability is low for individual interactions (or is it $\rm prob\propto\sim e^{-100}$? not so much in that case). – Kyle Oman Aug 18 '14 at 17:05
@Kyle: the calculation is much more complicated than I've described. The $e^{-\Delta E/kT}$ factor is the fraction of collisions with energy $E$, but you still have to account for the low cross section for gluon fusion. Even the LHC at 7TeV only makes a few Higgses per hour. – John Rennie Aug 18 '14 at 19:13
@SteveJessop 'The weasel-word is "significant numbers"'. Surely you mean the "weasel-word" is "real" as opposed to "virtual". I would say there are a significant enough number of them to give the sun mass. – Aron Aug 19 '14 at 5:57

Notwithstanding the previous answers, bear in mind that the Higgs boson fields is pervasive throughout the whole universe, according to the Standard Model of particle physics.

The interaction between the Higgs field and the matter fermion fields (quarks, electron, muon, etc) provides the fermions with mass. This means that there are virtual Higgs bosons everywhere.

Now, observing a Higgs boson requires more complex operations and energy because the boson is no more virtual as a quantum fluctuation of its field, and because you want to detect the boson with a device.

This kind of device would not last very long in the solar plasma though ;-)

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protected by Qmechanic Aug 18 '14 at 16:20

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