Banner
    Higgs Discovery Rehabilitating Despised Einstein Ether
    By Sascha Vongehr | December 13th 2011 07:07 PM | 17 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

    View Sascha's Profile

    Firm evidence for the discovery of a Higgs particle has now been officially announced. This means the "Higgs ether" exists. But did not Einstein tell us that there is no ether? Poor Albert is getting punched hard these days. We just survived the faster than light neutrino hysteria, and now this.

    Although in a sense not fundamentally important (physicists hedged their bets and the multiverse allows no Higgs to be true simultaneously), there are dire consequences of the discovery of the "God particle". Some of the more crack pottery science bloggers will be very disappointed about the Higgs having any mass, some even promised us to stop blogging altogether! (Warning: Don’t hold your breath.)


    Before explaining why many are so disappointed about the discovery, lets mention some of the more widely discussed implications, mainly to see how inconsequential they are. There may be consequences for the feasibility of super-symmetry (SUSY): Those who work on SUSY claim that the Higgs discovery indicates SUSY to be also true. Those who wish for alternatives, well they point out that the light mass of the Higgs makes SUSY unlikely. On the other hand, a light Higgs could mean that the universe is unstable because it may allow the decay of the “False Vacuum”. (More on this doomsday scenario and why a stable universe is actually not necessary here.) SUSY may be a way to prevent the universe from blowing up.


    As it turns out a Higgs mass of 125 GeV is quite a borderline case. The situation was analysed taking into account the best recent valued for the top mass and weak coupling constants by Ellis et al in 2009. Source:vixra


    A God’s-eye view of what it would look like if a false vacuum bubble universe formed and detached from the “real” universe. This would be very different from another possibility: the universe blowing up.


    Why is the Higgs boson and its associated Higgs field such bad news for many? In a nutshell: Orthodoxy about Einstein’s general relativity has for about a whole century now academically lynched anybody for mentioning the evil ether. The ether, also “Einstein-Aether”, is the idea that relativity emerges inside a fluid like space-substance that lives through time. This is very much disliked by all those who almost religiously believe in the dogma of abstract geometrical space-time. The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, and that Higgs field is what gives some of the more fundamental particles like electrons their mass. This is why the Higgs field is also called Higgs-ether!


    As I pointed out before (but you still cannot publish such if not already famous), the ether has long been back with a vengeance in all of modern physics. It does not imply that Einstein was wrong, although orthodoxy still often holds that the Michelson-Morley Ether-drift experiments supposedly disproved the ether and therefore proved Einstein correct. Now with firm evidence for the Higgs ether, perhaps one can finally come out of the closet and say the forbidden taboo word again?


    Let me quote what I wrote before [1] in order to explain some more:


    Abstract: Modern physics, via standard model with Higgs and string theory for example, has supplied ether-like models and emergent gravity scenarios that substantially weaken the usual defense of orthodox relativity and abstract, relational space-time in general …

    Mass in general relativity (GR) is simply inertia. Gravity is not a force but curvature of space-time. On the other hand, the Higgs mechanism derives the rest mass of some of the standard model’s fundamental particles as an interaction with a ‘sticky’ background Higgs field through which the particles move. Orthodox relativity almost vilifies such ether-like concepts, while modern physics reintroduced them for about half a century now. In GR, space-time is ‘dynamic’, which means that it interacts with the energy-momentum distribution. Nevertheless, orthodox GR can be described as a “relativity is kinematics” position (Janssen 2009; Padmanabhan 2008) , i.e. an abstract-view (relationism, structuralism) where the dynamics emerges from symmetries (consistency) rather than from any concrete mechanism. The idea that relativistic kinematics arises from the dynamics of objects interacting with their background space is disfavored by orthodox GR, because such an interpretation treats the background as too “substantiated”; …

    GR’s geodesics through curved space-time had abolished gravitational forces. Rest mass in the standard model, that includes even pure inertia against gravitational acceleration, is described as a permanently ongoing interaction with a Higgs background. …, the dynamics leading to kinematics concept is deeply rooted in modern physics, so deeply that Richard Feynman abandoned his catchiest motto: “The vacuum is empty” (Wilczek 1999) .


    The Higgs field possibly has the same uniform value v everywhere. Since it is a so called “scalar field”, it is also the same to every observer, regardless of how fast she moves relative to the average star background. Particles see the same Higgs field regardless of their motion.

    The Higgs field breaks electroweak symmetry. If electroweak symmetry were exact and not broken, the electromagnetic and weak forces would have the same strength; photons, W- and Z-mesons would be indistinguishable, be the same things. The Higgs field permits the fundamental fermions (quarks and leptons like the electron) to have a mass. This rest mass depends on a coupling constant g that is different for each type of fermion. The rest mass increases with g*v as if the Higgs field sticks to the particles like honey, making their acceleration difficult.


    All this sounds so much like ether that many people who favor a very geometric and “beautiful” description of nature have come to despise the Higgs mechanism. Well, physics is about experimental evidence. The universe has just become a little bit more ugly.


    -----------------------------------

    [1] Vongehr, S.: “Supporting abstract relational space-time as fundamental without doctrinism against emergence.arXiv:0912.3069v2 (2009)

    --------------------------------------------

    More from Sascha Vongehr sorted Topic for Topic

    Comments

    Alfred Differ
    At the risk of sounding like the fanatic who can't let an idea go, I'll point out that some of us on the fringe were playing with geometric theories that made use of an underlying manifold with much more potential.  GR's assumed manifold has four independent coordinate directions, right?  Why not more?  Why not enough of them to give some independence to the other bits of geometry one can describe through forms?  Why not a broader meaning for covariance?  All of this requires one have a excellent mathematical tool for model building, but that's precisely what some of us think we have... and we can mix geometry grades with ease.

    Before I turned in the software direction I got to present this stuff at one gravity conference and met with the polite resistance you might expect to occur.  I'm thankful it was polite, but their point translated roughly as 'Why should we bother learning this when we don't need it.'  My polite response was '...yet.' 

    I hope the scalar field bothers them to the core.  Maybe it will motivate them too.  8)
    -Dream Big. --Grow Up.
    Good piece. As you say, special relativity is widely held to prove that the aether cannot exist, but this is a misconception – as Einstein himself pointed out: “To deny the aether is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical qualities whatever....Space without aether is unthinkable”. SR merely forbids the aether acting as an absolute frame, which implies it must therefore be utterly devoid of any features that might be used as "marker-points" against which velocities can be determined. As such, various quantum fields can be considered an aether, as although they produce measurable effects, their featureless nature means they cannot be used as frames of reference.

    matpitka
    I do not see the results as a proof for the existence of Higgs. Also Matt Strassler seems to share my view. Probably there exists a new particle -perhaps several. There are bumps around 145 GeV and at both sides of 300 GeV. If these bumps are real, the standard model Higgs and maybe also SUSY Higgses are in difficulties. My own proposal is scaled up variant of hadron physics is consistent with the findings too and only a detailed study of Higgs signatures will show whether either of these options survives. For details see my blog.
    Hi I don't understand here two things:

    - If you take the Higgs-field as an ether, why shouldn't we also consider e.g. the gravitational field or the gluon-field as an ether?
    - If I move a spoon through a honey-glass the motion is decelerated. Friction slows the spoon down. But the higgs-field does not slow particles down, it interacts with. It cannot be seen as a "higgs-force". But what is it then?

    Thanks!

    vongehr
    - The gravitational "field" is described as "mere" space-time curvature. So no aether (stuff/substance). Gluons are not supposed to be related with generation of rest-mass (they have and contribute mass just like a table or chair, but having mass does not make you an aether).
    - An aether is not supposed to slow down anything, it is supposed to let the properties of phenomenal space-time (like inertia = mass) emerge from its own, more fundamental properties.
    Sascha, what the pp meant was that honey is not merely sticky, it is viscous, in fact the stickiness comes from the viscosity. A viscous Higgs aether would slow everything down.  It also suggests that the particle gains mass because of heavy stuff stuck to it.  It's a terrible analogy!


     



     
    vongehr
    The pp? Yes you are right - that is why I never liked the honey comparison that some supposedly marvelous science outreachers put out there. It is a terribly misleading image for precisely the reasons you list. Not sure why you put this comment here though. Maybe you meant to put it further up or below?
    pp Previous poster, i.e. the one before you, "Noob".

    Noob mentioned slowing down; you'd replied but still not mentioned the viscosity. Nothing seditious going on :)


     

     
    Daniel Burnstein
    Hi Sascha,

    After reading your paper (interesting read by the way), I can understand your enthusiasm. Some key elements of your paper would be supported if there was strong evidence of the existence of the Higgs.

    That said, most experts don't hold the results as anything close to a discovery, but these are opinions.

    My personal opinion is that as more data is analyzed, the Higgs bumps will disappear. The reason I'm saying this is not because I'm an expert in the statistical models used, but because there is stronger evidence against the existence of the Higgs boson. One of the most important one being what is known as redshift anomalies.

    Also, the OPERA results if confirmed (and I believe they will be), will also be major counter-evidence against the Higgs.

    I do however agree with many of the ideas, including the possibility of a ether. But again, that is on my opinion which itself is based on the premise that space be discrete and emergent.
    Daniel L. Burnstein
    Gentlemen, any idea how the Higgs Boson (if it indeed exists) got its mass?! Doesn't that necessitate the supposition of another field to account for the mass, in an regressive way? Thank you!

    vongehr
    It seems to me (from your mentioning of regress) that you may misunderstand the Higgs as giving mass to everything. It is just a mechanism to give rest mass to certain fermions, an overall tiny contribution to the mass of your body for example, which is almost all due to binding energies (Einstein's E = m c2)
    "But did not Einstein tell us that there is no ether?" No, he didn't tell us that, he said it was unmeasurable. There's a difference.

    vongehr
    Unmeasurable? Not even that he said my friend! In fact, he talked about ether many times! That is what we call Einstein ether.
    Great topic to discuss. I am looking for names of old and new scientists such as the GREAT NIKOLA TESLA, who never gave up on the idea of an ETHER.

    I am intuitively on the same page with Sacha.

    As a spin off from the article above: Do you know anything about Tesla's claims and views on the Ether Sacha ? And if so what are they ?

    This is a really degrading, perverse, answer. Did you feel any shame at all?

    vongehr
    Yeah - the Higgs field is a perverse answer, but perverse people do not feel ashamed.