# Will electromagnetism separate into electricity and magnetism as the universe cools down?

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

• @Frobenius I think the OP is asking about the gauge symmetry-breaking that has occurred as the universe has cooled. Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 23:48
• @G. Smith : You are absolutely right. I didn't realize this important detail till I saw the 2 answers. Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 23:57
• No. Without electricity there is no electromagnetism. Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 22:35
• Has no lab stuck some electric and magnetic items in a great big test chamber and pumped out all the heat? Commented Oct 25, 2020 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.

• Could you explain how this is related to the cooling of the universe? Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 7:26
• @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. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 14:52
• @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 Commented Oct 25, 2020 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.

• Can you explain how this would be related to the cooling of the universe? Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 7:25
• @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. Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 16:52

Yes.

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

• Citation?‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎ ------------- Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 19:09