# What if EM or QCD was spontaneously broken?

Suppose that Standard Model Higgs mechanism broke electromagnetism, by e.g. veving the charged component of the doublet, so that the photon was massive with $m_\gamma\sim v$. Could such a Universe still have large scale structure? Atoms (i.e. stable electronic orbits)? Life?

Assuming we got past those hurdles, would it have been much more difficult to have discovered special relativity? Would we have been stuck at Galilean invariance, without the invariance of the speed of light from which to build SR? I appreciate that this is speculative.

And, also, the identical question but for a coloured Higgs vacuum that breaks QCD. Would broken QCD still be confining? I guess so - so we could still have nucleons and the resulting chemistry?

In general I wonder how fine-tuned the spontaneous symmetry breaking pattern must be for life/structure. Without EWSB, I know that there are no stable electron orbits, and no life.

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We don't break fields, we break symmetries. What symmetry are you referring to? –  Ben Crowell May 26 '13 at 0:37
Or maybe we just hide them? –  Alfred Centauri May 26 '13 at 0:38
"Assuming we got past those hurdles, would it have been much more difficult to have discovered special relativity? Would we have been stuck at Galilean invariance, without the invariance of the speed of light from which to build SR?" No. See physics.stackexchange.com/q/35404/4552 –  Ben Crowell May 26 '13 at 0:41
This is very interesting, +1 –  Dilaton May 26 '13 at 6:08

No, a broken $SU(3)$ couldn't be confining. At energies lower than the breaking scale, the "gluons" would behave like W-bosons and Z-bosons in the real world and their interactions would be weak and their nonlinearity would be virtually non-existent. So one couldn't get confinement at distances longer than the breaking scale. And confinement is, by definition, a property of dynamics at arbitrarily/infinitely long distances (one can't separate the charged objects) so confinement is incompatible with the Higgsing.