Every fundamental interaction in Physics comes from "some bosonic field" or "force carrier", according to QFT. We have 4 fundamental interactions(force carriers):

  1. Gravity (Gravitons)
  2. Electromagnetism (photons)
  3. Weak nuclear force.(W, Z)
  4. Strong nuclear force (gluons).

Every field has a source:

  1. Gravity's source: mass (or more generally energy-momentum in general relativity).
  2. Electromagnetism: electric charge (also magnetic charges if we include magnetic monopoles or their generalizations in the picture).
  3. Weak nuclear force: "weak charge" (we could undertand it as "flavor exchange" at the level of the electroweak theory at energies around 80-90GeV).
  4. Strong nuclear force: "color charge".

With the discovery of the Higgs field, one question naturally arises:

What is the "source"/characteristic of the Higgs boson field? Is the Higgs field "universal" like gravity or it is more like the electroweak or strong fields?

  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate physics.stackexchange.com/q/17944 $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/1080/2451 $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Jul 19, 2013 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ There is no answer or question in those questions to what the Higgs field "characteristic" would be... $\endgroup$
    – riemannium
    Jul 19, 2013 at 18:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The Higgs is not a gauge field so you can't interpret it's couplings as "charges" in the usual sense. That is, it isn't coupled to a conserved current. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jul 20, 2013 at 8:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Alfred, a gauge field IS gauge invariant by definition, does it?Hence the name! If the Higgs field is not gauge field, how could it be gauge invariant? It is an issue of mathematical definition... $\endgroup$
    – riemannium
    Jul 20, 2013 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


It is interesting to look at interaction part of Lagrangians:

Linearized Gravity (first order, scalar field): $\partial^\mu ~ \Phi ~\partial^\nu\Phi ~h_{\mu\nu} = T^{\mu\nu}~h_{\mu\nu}$

Electromagnetism : $\bar \psi \gamma^\mu \psi ~ A_\mu = j^\mu A_\mu$

Higgs for bosons: $B^\mu H B_\mu H $

Higgs for fermions: $e_R (E_L H) $

One sees that it is not possible to find a general "source" for the Higgs field which makes sense.

Maybe, in the fermion case, you could consider, that, in some sense, there would be a ($e_R E_l$) "source" for the Higgs, but it would be more an abuse of language.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Typo in the first eq: change a $\partial^\mu$ to $\partial^\nu$. Otherwise good. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Jul 20, 2013 at 8:52

Every fundamental interaction in Physics comes from "some field"

Every fundamental particle comes from "some field". So, what is the "source" of the electron and neutrino fields and of the quark fields?

In the context of the Standard Model, the fields are fundamental; the particles are quanta of the (modes of the) field.

The (ordinary) Higgs fields are two complex, self-interacting scalar fields with 4 associated quanta (particles and anti-particles).

The Higgs fields are electroweak charged and form a weak isospin doublet (like the electron-neutrino doublet and the up-down' quark doublet) and thus interact with the electroweak gauge fields.

The Higgs fields also interact with the fermion (matter) fields via Yukawa interactions.

So, to summarize, to ask for the source of the Higgs fields, it seems to me, is to ask for the source of quantum fields in general. But, as far as we know, quantum fields are fundamental.

  • $\begingroup$ I deleted some inappropriate comments. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jul 20, 2013 at 7:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.