Based on my understanding, the Higgs field is a energy field which possesses the Higgs Boson which interact with matter to "give" them mass. However if all the electrons in the universe are having the same mass, does this mean that all the electrons in the universe interact with the same number of Higgs Boson particles? If so, how does it remain consistent?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You are making the classic confusion between coupling with the Higgs field and interacting with the Higgs boson. Here is a concise and pictural explanation, yet accurate enough. $\endgroup$
    – user154997
    Oct 30 '17 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ protons and neutrons get their mass from the quarks, gluons and pairs of quarks antiquarks mainly through the interactions with the strong force. The mass of the quarks , order of a few MeV is a small percentage of the invariant mass of the proton/neutron. See profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/largehadroncolliderfaq/… . Only elementary particles get their mass from interacting with the higgs field (not boson) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_particle $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ All protons have the same mass because they are the same bound state of the quantum chromodynamic potential induced by all those quarks and gluons. There exist higher bound states , the Δ baryons , see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eightfold_Way_(physics) $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:19

The Higgs field is a quantum field. The Higgs boson discovered at the LHC is one of the excitations of this field but is not directly related to particle masses - the masses are due to an interaction with the Higgs field not the Higgs boson.

All elementary particles are described as excitations of their associated quantum field. For example there is an electron quantum field and electrons are described as excitations of this field. All electrons have identical properties because they are all excitations of the same field and the properties are determined by the field.

The mass of the electron is determined by an interaction between the Higgs field and the electron field (this interaction is called a Yukawa coupling) and this has a certain value that varies between different types of fields but has a fixed value for any particular field.

And this is why all electrons have the same mass. The mass is determined by the Yukawa coupling between the Higgs and electron quantum fields, and all electrons get the same value of this mass. Likewise if we consider muons, all muons get their mass from the Yukawa coupling between the Higgs and muon fields, which is different from the Higgs-electron field coupling. So all muons have the same mass but this mass is different from the electron mass.

The Higgs boson tends to be mentioned in popular science articles as if it was the cause of particles masses, but it's important to understand that this is not the case. The masses are the result of interactions with the Higgs field and the Higgs boson is just a side effect of the Higgs field's existence.

  • $\begingroup$ John, I looked at the Yukawa link and my brain exploded from the sheer amount of Greek on the page. Are you able to explain it for my poor lawyer brain? $\endgroup$ Feb 5 '20 at 20:50

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