The electroweak force separated into the weak force and electromagnetism. So, will the electromagnetic force eventually separate into electricity and magnetism?

  • $\begingroup$ @Frobenius I think the OP is asking about the gauge symmetry-breaking that has occurred as the universe has cooled. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 23 '20 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @G. Smith : You are absolutely right. I didn't realize this important detail till I saw the 2 answers. $\endgroup$ – Frobenius Oct 23 '20 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ No. Without electricity there is no electromagnetism. $\endgroup$ – svin83 Oct 24 '20 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Has no lab stuck some electric and magnetic items in a great big test chamber and pumped out all the heat? $\endgroup$ – Robbie Goodwin Oct 25 '20 at 21:09

In the case of electroweak force and electromagnetism there is an Higgs mechanism, which makes the $W^{\pm}, Z$ bosons massive, and preserves the photon $\gamma$ massless. But the symmetry relating the electric and magnetic fields is actually a Lorentz symmetry, which is global and remains unbroken. The difference between electric and magnetic fields emerges in non-relativistic limit, but it is not tied with the breaking of symmetry.

  • $\begingroup$ Could you explain how this is related to the cooling of the universe? $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Oct 25 '20 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 It's not. The point is that it doesn't matter how hot or cold the universe is, the way in which electric and magnetic are related makes them inseparable. $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants Oct 25 '20 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 concering the separation into electric and magnetic field, there is no relation, there is a unified electromagnetic force, concerning the electroweak force, when the universe was hot enough - there was an unbroken $SU(2)$ group, when Universe cooled enough - phase transition occured $\endgroup$ – spiridon_the_sun_rotator Oct 25 '20 at 15:55

No. Separating electric fields from magnetic fields would require the breaking of local Lorentz symmetry, not some gauge symmetry, and there is no reason why that is going to happen.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you explain how this would be related to the cooling of the universe? $\endgroup$ – nick012000 Oct 25 '20 at 7:25
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 In the Standard Model of particle physics, the weak nuclear force and the EM force are unified at high temperature because the Higgs field has a zero value. At low temperature they are separate forces because the Higgs field settles into the bottom if its “Mexican hat” potential where it has a nonzero value. $\endgroup$ – G. Smith Oct 25 '20 at 16:52


When the universe becomes big enough and thin enough there will be nothing but the most basic sub sub sub particles and no forces.

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    $\begingroup$ Citation?‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎ ------------- $\endgroup$ – qazwsx Oct 25 '20 at 19:09

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