Rumors About An Old Rumor
    By Tommaso Dorigo | December 25th 2010 04:40 AM | 34 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    Some unforeseen Christmas-vigil blog activity bringing here a few visitors more than average was traced today back to BBC News, who discussed the 2010 science highlights here.

    The incoming link is in this paragraph:

    The evolving role of the blogosphere in science came to the fore as particle physicists were preparing to gather in Paris for their annual conference. Internet rumours suggested that the US Tevatron particle smasher had seen hints of the elusive Higgs boson.

    The rumours were quickly scotched, but scientists later announced they had narrowed the range of masses where the Higgs could hide by about one quarter.

    This is a rather fair summary of the event, quite unlike the hysterical reactions of some of the involved parties. Thanks, BBC.


    Dear Tommaso, anything to say about this new CDF NP rumor, 2 jet resonance, 140 GeV...

    With so many papers coming out of CDF recently, it must have escaped my attention...

    The problem is with the BBC referring to "the elusive Higgs boson." They should have referred to "the speculative Higgs boson."

    The flawed logic of the "Higgs boson" assumption is based on the application of gauge theory for symmetry breaking to the supposed "electroweak symmetry" (never observed in nature). Only broken "electroweak symmetry", i.e. an absense of symmetry and thus separate electromagnetic and weak interactions, have actually been observed in nature. So the Higgs boson required to break the "electroweak symmetry" is an unobserved epicycle required to explain an unobserved symmetry! What's interesting is the nature of the groupthink "electroweak symmetry". Above the "electroweak unification" energy, there is supposed to be equality of electromagnetic and weak forces into a single electroweak force. Supposedly, this is where the massive weak bosons lose their mass and this gain light velocity, long range, and thus stronger coupling, equal in strength to the electromagnetic field.

    This unification guess has driven other possibilities out of sight. There are two arguments for it. First, the breaking of Heisenberg's neutron-proton SU(2) chiral "isospin symmetry" leads to pions as Nambu-Goldstone bosons; so by analogy you can argue for Higgs bosons from breaking electroweak symmetry. This is unconvincing because, as stated, there is no electroweak symmetry known in nature; it's just a guess. (It's fine to have a guess. It's not fine to have a guess, and use the guess as "evidence" for "justifying" another guess! That's just propaganda or falsehood.) Secondly, the supposed "electroweak theory" of Weinberg and others. Actually, that they is better called a hypercharge-weak theory, since U(1) in the standard model is hypercharge, which isn't directly observable. The electromagnetic theory is produced by an adjustable epicycle (the Weinberg angle) that is forced to make the hypercharge and weak theories produce the electromagnetic field by ad hoc mixing. The prediction of the weak boson masses from the Weinberg angle isn't proof of the existence of an electroweak symmetry, because the weak bosons only have mass when the "symmetry" is broken. All evidence to date suggests that electroweak symmetry (like aliens flying around in UFOs) is just a fiction, the Higgs is a fiction, and mass is not generated through symmetry breaking. Yet so much hype based on self-deception continues.

    The funny thing about the Glashow-Weinberg-Salam model is that it was formulated in 1967-8, but was not well received until its renormalizability had been demonstrated years later by ‘t Hooft. The electroweak theory they formulated was perfectly renormalizable prior to the addition of the Higgs field, i.e. it was renormalizable with massless SU(2) gauge bosons (which we use for electromagnetism), because the lagrangian had a local gauge invariance. ‘t Hooft’s trivial proof that it was also renormalizable after “symmetry breaking” (the acquisition of mass by all of the SU(2) gauge bosons, a property again not justified by experiment because the weak force is left-handed so it would be natural for only half of the SU(2) gauge bosons to acuqire mass to explain this handedness) merely showed that the W-boson propagator expressions in the Feynman path integral are independent of mass when the momentum flowing through the propagator is very large. I.e., ‘t Hooft just showed that for large momentum flows, mass makes no difference and the proof of renormalization for massless electroweak bosons is also applicable to the case of massive electroweak bosons.

    ‘t Hooft plays down the trivial physical nature of his admittedly mathematically impressive proof since his personal website makes the misleading claim: “…I found in 1970 how to renormalize the theory, and, more importantly, we identified the theories for which this works, and what conditions they must fulfil. One must, for instance, have a so-called Higgs-particle. These theories are now called gauge theories.”

    That claim that he has a proof that the Higgs particle must exist is totally without justification. He merely showed that if the Higgs field provides mass, the electroweak theory is still renormalizable (just as it is with massless bosons). He did not disprove all hope of alternatives to the Higgs field, so he should not claim that! He just believes in electroweak theory and won a Nobel Prize for it, and is proud. Similarly, the string theorists perhaps are just excited and proud of the theory they work on, and they believe in it. But the result is misleading hype!

    Vladimir Kalitvianski
    Sobering thoughts...
    Never observed in nature ???? Electroweak symmetry never observed in nature ?? Nige, study the experimental verifications of the standard model before falling in such blunders. Electroweak symmetry is an established fact at high energy. Suffices to see, for instance, the cross section of electron-proton scattering at high energy measured at HERA. Not the most precise measurement, but the most visually clean manifestation of the coming together of cross sections for electromagnetic and weak processes...

    Merry Christmas Tommaso!

    Are you aware of any definite HERA evidence that weak bosons actually become massless at very high energies? That is required to prove that electroweak symmetry exists.

    I'm not denying that the interaction strengths run with energy and may appear to roughly converge when extrapolating towards the Planck scale. You get too much noise from hadron jets when doing such collisions, to get an unambiguous signal. Even if you just collide leptons at such high energy, hadrons are created in the pair production at such high energies, and then it's a reliant on extremely difficult QCD jet calculations to subtract the gluon field "noise" before you can see any signals clearly from the relatively weak (compared to QCD) electromagnetic and weak interactions.

    I'm simply pointing out that there is no evidence given for electroweak symmetry, by which I refer not to the weak bosons losing their mass at high energy. I don't accept as evidence for electroweak symmetry a mere (alleged) similarity of the weak and electromagnetic cross-sections at very high energy (differing rates of running with energy in different couplings due to unknown vacuum polarization effects could cause apparent convergence simply by coincidence, without proving a Higgs field mechanism or the existence of electroweak symmetry). It's hard to interpret the results of high energy collisions because you create hadronic jets which add epicycles into the calculations needed to deduce the relatively small electromagnetic and weak interactions. The energies needed to try to test for electroweak symmetry are so high they cause a lot of noise which fogs the accuracy of the data. If you wanted to use these HERA data to prove the existence of electroweak symmetry (massless weak bosons), you would need to do more than show convergence in the cross-sections.

    Nige, the weak bosons do not "need to actually become massless at high energy" in order for EW symmetry to exist. And I do not understand any of your claims about noise and QCD. I am talking about very clean events of hard deep inelastic scattering, where the bosons are seen with great clarity due to their leptonic decays. I think you should ponder on the meaning of approximate symmetry a bit more.

    ...and ... Merry Xmas to you too!
    Happy Xmas! Time ago, the agenda-calendar from the particle data group marked the 25th as Newton's Birthday, and today as Boxing Day. Is still so?

    Anyway, I guess that Nigel is worried not about the W,Z chiral SU(2) symmetry, but about the Higgs, and particularly about the need (or not) of running the coupling constants (quartic and quadratic) of the Higgs _field_, because then at some particular energy, the symmetry recovers, the vacuum becomes symmetric under the electroweak group, and the gauge bosons become massless.
    Given that it should be a typical textbook example on RG, to move the couplings and to calculate the exact point where energy is restored, and given that it is not usually done, I guess that either this running is unimportant, or the question is not settled :-)
    In the context of supersymmetry, probably the question should be seen as a reformulation of the mu-problem, but I am a bit puzzled because on one side susy is expected to stabilize the running of the higgs parameters, but on another some SUSY-GUT theories claim to have a positive value for the quadratic coupling that comes negative (and breaks electroweak symmetry) just because of the RG as we go down in energy, I do not remember if these theories also contemplate a mu problem.

    Hello Alejandro, merry xmas to you too! I do not know the first thing about boxing day.

    I understand from your text that what Nige is discussing is not in any way connected to the phenomenology we are exploring today (the symmetry of EM and W interactions at Q^2 of 10,000 GeV^2 or so), and therefore it does not make sense to ask for experimental verification...

    As for the quartic coupling making the minimum unstable, this happens only if the Higgs mass is below a certain value, which depends on the energy scale at which you want the theory to work. I think a 135 GeV Higgs would work all the way to MP, right ?

    Hi Tommaso,

    "I am talking about very clean events of hard deep inelastic scattering, where the bosons are seen with great clarity due to their leptonic decays."

    You're thinking possibly about weak SU(2) symmetry and electromagnetic symmetry, and you think these two separate symmetries together as "electroweak symmetry". I'm 100% behind the extensive evidence gauge theory for weak interactions and 100% behind gauge theory for electromagnetic interactions. These separate symmetries, produced in the "electroweak theory" by mixing U(1) hypercharge boson with the SU(2) bosons, are not however "electroweak symmetry", which only exists if massless weak bosons exist at very high energy. The Higgs field is supposed to give mass to those bosons at low energy, breaking the symmetry. At high energy, the weak bosons are supposed to lose mass, allowing symmetry of weak isospin and electromagnetic interactions by making the range of both fields the same.

    I really need to find any alleged evidence for "electroweak symmetry" in my research for a paper, so if you ever recall the paper with the HERA data which you say contains evidence for electroweak symmetry, please let me know! So far I've read all the QFT books I can get (Weinberg, Ryder, Zee, etc.) and electroweak theory papers on arXiv, and I have not found any evidence for electroweak symmetry. I realize that you are probably very busy with festivities over Christmas, however, so don't worry. I'll try to read everything I can google on HERA proton+electron collision data myself.

    My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong here) is that if you collide protons and electrons at TeV energies, you knock free virtual quarks from the sheer energy of the collision? These virtual quarks gain the energy to become real (onshell) quarks, forming hadron jets. These jets are difficult to accurately predict because they are dominated by QCD/strong forces and the perturbative expansion for QCD is divergent, so you need lattice calculations which are inaccurate. So you can't compare what you see with a solid prediction. You can measure what you see, but you can't analyze the data very accurately. The color charge of the QCD jets can't interact with the weak bosons, but the jets also have electromagnetic and weak charges which do interact with weak bosons. So you cannot do a precise theoretical analysis of the entire event. All you can really do is to produce particles and see what they are and how they interact. You can't do a complete theoretical analysis that's accurate enough to deduce electroweak symmetry.

    Hi Nige,

    I am made short-sighted by the wine and the food, but I can still answer here to the best of my impaired brain activity. I question your claim that the Higgs boson gives mass to vector bosons "at low energy". It gives mass to them in the sense that the Lagrangian contains a valid mass term without gauge symmetry and renormalizability being affected. The mass term is there and remains there in the Lagrangian density no matter how high up you are flying above the minimum of the mexican hat: the phenomenology will not care of these mass terms any more, because they become irrelevant, but the minimum is still there, the lagrangian is still the same, and I in summary do not understand what you are talking about. Have you got a reference ?

    As for "knocking free quarks", quarks are never free. They are never asymptotic states, because the potential energy of the QCD field prevents them from doing so. Rather, quarks form hadron jets by radiating gluons in a cascading (fragmentation) process. However, you are losing the big picture for the detail here: quarks exhibit electromagnetic and weak interactions with electrons colliding against them, because the energy typical of QCD interactions (200 MeV) is much lower than the energy of the collision. The quark "is seen as" a free particle, against which a photon or a weak boson scatters. The two have basically the same strength at high energy.

    Hi Tommaso,

    Virtual quarks for in pairs due to pair production around the proton. The pairs get knocked free in high energy collision. I do know that individual quarks can't exist by themselves. I wrote that the quarks are produced in pair production, and get knocked free of the field of the proton in a high energy inelastic collision. I didn't write that individual quarks exist alone.

    The mass term in the lagrangian always exists, but it doesn't have the same value. If m = 0, that is the same as getting rid of the mass term. Reference is for instance Zee's QFT book. You can't formulate a QFT very conveniently without the field having mass. Sidney Coleman is credited by Zee with the trick of adding a mass term for the massless QED virtual photon field, for example. You have to have a mass term in the field to get the gauge theory lagrangian, but at the end you can set the mass equal to zero. It's a mathematical trick. It's not physics, just math.

    The precise reference is Zee, 1st ed., 2003, pp 30-31: "Calculate with a photon mass m and set m = 0 at the end ... When I first took a field theory course as a Student of Sidney Coleman this was how he treated QED in order to avoid discussing gauge invariance." He ends up with an electromagnetic potential of (e^{-mr})/(4 Pi r). The exponential part of this, e^{-mr}, is due to the mass term. Setting m = 0 gives e^{-mr} = 1, so the mass term has no effect, and you get the expected potential for a massless field. By exactly the same argument, mass terms in the weak field need to be eliminated for "electroweak symmetry" by making m = 0 where such symmetry exists. Otherwise, you end up with a weak field potential which has an exponential term (reducing the range and field strength) due to the mass of the weak field quanta. To get "electroweak symmetry", the weak field potential must become similar to the electromagnetic field potential at unification energy. That's the definition of this "symmetry".

    Great, if it is not physics, why are we discussing it here Nige ? You ask for an experimental proof of a mathematical trick ?

    About quark pairs being knocked free: it is not the way it works. You can certainly "kick" a pion (a quark-antiquark bound state) off a proton by an electroweak probe,  but the picture does not teach us much. Stop thinking about asymptotic states please, and concentrate on the hard subprocess, where the real (perturbative) physics is. There, the gamma and the W/Z have similar strengths once you reach virtualities of the order of the boson masses.

    Vladimir Kalitvianski
    And the electrons in pure QED, are they ever free?
    Hi Tommaso,

    Thanks. Pauli first applied Weyl’s gauge theory to electrodynamics and was well aware that that for electromagnetic interactions, it really doesn’t matter if you have a mass term in the propagator like (k^2)-(m^2), because it just represents the momentum delivered by the field boson in the Feynman diagram. You can treat the relativistic field quanta (moving with velocity c) as non-relativistic, allow the rest mass momentum in the propagator to represent the relativistic momentum of photons, and then simply edit out the problem of field quanta mass in the field potential by letting m = 0 in the final stage. This math trick complements the physics of gauge invariance so there is no problem. Pauli however knew that the mass in the propagator is a real problem for non-Abelian fields that carry electric charge, so he objected to the Yang-Mills theory when Yang gave his lecture in 1954. Yang and Mills could not treat the mass of the field and Pauli made such a fuss Yang had to sit down. Electrically charged field quanta can’t propagate without rest mass (their magnetic self-inductance opposes their motion), so they must really have a mass in the propagator, as far as Pauli was concerned. This doesn’t apply to uncharged field quanta like photons, where you don’t need a massive propagator. Now the problem is: how do you get electroweak symmetry with electrically charged, massless SU(2) quanta at electroweak unification energy. As far as I can see, most of the authors of modern physics textbooks ignore or obfuscate the physics (which they mostly disrespect or frankly hate as being a trivial irrelevance in “mathematical physics”). But Noether makes all of the “mathematical symmetries” simple physical processes:

    Noether’s theorem: every conservation law corresponds to an invariance or symmetry.
    Gauge symmetry: conservation of charge (electric, weak, or color).
    Electroweak symmetry: equality of couplings (strengths) of electromagnetic and weak interactions at electroweak unification energy.
    Langrangian symmetry or local phase invariance: produced by a lagrangian that varies with changes in the wavefunction, so that emission of field quanta compensate for the energy used to change the wavefunction.

    When you switch from describing massive to massless field quanta in electromagnetism, the equation for field potential loses its exponential factor and thus ceases to have short range and weak strength. However, the field quanta still carry momentum because they have energy, and energy has momentum. So there is no problem. Contrast this to the problems with getting rid of mass for SU(2) electrically charged W bosons!

    “... concentrate on the hard subprocess, where the real (perturbative) physics is. There, the gamma and the W/Z have similar strengths once you reach virtualities of the order of the boson masses.”

    You seem to be arguing is that “electroweak symmetry” is defined by similarity of the strengths of the weak and electromagnetic forces at energies equivalent to the weak boson masses (80 and 91 GeV). There is some confusion in QFT textbooks on exactly what the difference is between “electroweak symmetry” and “electroweak unification”.

    At energies of 80 and 91 GeV (weak W and Z boson masses), the electromagnetic (gamma) and W/Z don’t seem to have very similar strengths:


    Nige, you are forgetting the main question that electroweak theory addresses:

    Why is the mass of the Z different of the mass of the W?'

    Were them equal, we could freely speak of an SU(2) weak theory.

    But they are different. And them we use the old trick we learn from pion-eta (and the whole hadron classification history): mixing.

    But then we need another interaction to mix with the Z. The photon is a interesting candidate but it is a purely vector, not axial, interaction. So "next bext idea" is to postulate another U(1), chiral itself, and get for Z and photon as output.

    (Note that Weinberg himself, and Pati, and a lot others, also pay care to invoke a non gauge U(1), for B-L. The U(1)_hypercharge is not all the history)

    Hi Alejandro,

    Thanks. Yes, the electrically neutral Z weak boson has higher mass (91 GeV) than the electrically charged W weak bosons (80 GeV), but that's just because the weak isospin charge coupling (g_W) has a value of only half the weak hypercharge coupling (g_B). The weak hypercharge for left-handed leptons (ie those which actually participate in weak interactions) is always Y = -1, while they have a weak isospin charge Y = +/-1/2. (Forget the right handed lepton hypercharge, because right handed leptons don't participate in weak interactions.) So the weak isospin charge has just half the magnitude of the weak hypercharge! The Weinberg mixing angle Theta_W is defined by:

    tan (Theta_W) = (g_W)/(g_B)

    The masses of the weak bosons Z and W then have the ratio:

    cos (Theta_W) = (M_W)/(M_Z)

    Therefore, the theory actually predicts the difference in masses of the Z and W weak bosons from the fact that the isospin charge is half the hypercharge. This is all obfuscated in the usual QFT textbook treatment, and takes some digging to find. You would get exactly the same conclusion for the left-handed weak interaction if you replace weak hypercharge by electric charge for leptons (not quarks, obviously) above. Because isospin charge takes a value of +/-1/2 while electric charge for leptons takes the value +/-1, the ratio of isospin to electric charge magnitude is a half. Obviously for quarks you need an adjustment for the fractional electric charges, hence the invention of weak hypercharge. Physically, this "(electric charge) = (isospin charge) + (half of hypercharge)" formula models the compensation for the physical fact that quarks appear to have fractional electric charges. (Actually, the physics may go deeper than this neat but simplistic formula, if quarks and leptons are unified in a preon model.) I'm well aware of the need for some kind of mixing, and am well aware that the difference in W and Z boson masses was predicted ahead of discover at CERN in 1983.

    I'm writing a paper clarifying all this, and it is good to be able to discuss and defend a criticism of electroweak symmetry here, to see what kind of arguments are used to defend it. It will help me to write the paper in a more concise, focussed way. Thank you Alejandro, thanks to Tommaso for tolerating a discussion, and other commentators.

    For the record: the essential "tan (Theta_W) = (g_W)/(g_B)" is equation 10.21 in David McMahon's 2008 "QFT Demystified" textbook.

    I will read your article Nige. Make it understandable to the rest of us.

    The point is that once you have got "tan (Theta_W) = (g_W)/(g_B)", you have mixed weak and hypercharge interactions, and you have all the right to speak of "SU(2)xU(1)" instead of "SU(2) and U(1)" even for your strict criteria. Of course nowadays we can doubt about g_w because of the mass of the top.

    But the point with the weinberg model is that it predicts, given the mixing equation above, the other equation, cos (Theta_W) = (M_W)/(M_Z), and it does it by using a single higgs coupling. I think that experimentalists have separate measurements of g_B, M_W, M_Z and g_W, and they call the matching between all the four the "rho parameter", isn't it?. But, do we need forcefully the higgs to obtain this cos(Theta_W) equation?

    I think that is the main question. Now, allow me a pair of criticisms:

    1)Please, review your posts when you want to argue subtle issues. For instance, above you say:
    "the weak isospin charge coupling (g_W) has a value of only half the weak hypercharge coupling (g_B)"
    and from it any random bypasser should read tan (Theta_W) =1/2. Which is not true, of course.

    2)Also, you generate some confusion, technical and historical, in telling that "Physically, this "(electric charge) = (isospin charge) + (half of hypercharge)" formula models the compensation for the physical fact that quarks appear to have fractional electric charges. ". You are mixing ideas with Pati B-L contribution to the electric charge, which appears when quark theory has already bein incorporated to mainstream. But Weinberg model refers to B-L only marginally, and without framing in in the quark model. In fact, most introductions to the electroweak model do not incorporate quarks.

    Hi Alejandro,

    1) Please, let's examine the facts! Theta_W or θ_W is empirically determined to be 29.3 degrees at 160 MeV energy using the 2005 data from parity violation in Møller scattering (sin^2 θ_W = 0.2397 ± 0.0013 was obtained at 160 MeV) and it was determined to 28.7 degrees at 91.2 GeV energy in 2004 data using the minimal subtraction renormalization scheme (sin^2 θ_W = 0.23120 ± 0.00015). This difference is usually cited as evidence of the running of the Weinberg angle with energy, due to the running coupling which is caused by vacuum polarization (shielding the core charges, which is a bigger effect at low energy than at high energy). See

    What I stated was that, ignoring the running coupling effect (which is smaller for the weak isospin field than in QED, because of the weakness of the weak force field relative to QED), the Weinberg angle is indeed

    tan θ_W =1/2.

    This is gives θ_W = 26.57 degrees. Remember, empirically it is 29.3 degrees at 160 MeV and it is 28.7 degrees at 91.2 GeV. The higher the energy, the less vacuum polarization we see (we penetrate closer to the core of the particle, and there is therefore less intervening polarized vacuum to shield the field) Therefore, the figure for higher energy, 28.7 degrees is predicted to be closer to the theoretical bare core value (26.57 degrees) than the figure observed at low energy (29.3 degrees). The value of θ_W falls from 29.3 degrees at 160 MeV to 28.7 degrees at 91.2 GeV, and to an asymptotic value for the bare core of 26.57 degrees at much higher energy.

    2) I am sorry if I caused confusion there, but I was trying to be precise in a very few words about the actual physics. I hope my reply to point 1 above is helpful and clear.

    Still, the main point remains: if you connect the mixing angle (weinberg in coupling constants) with Mw and Mz, you are for sure speaking of a mix if SU(2) and U(1). Which was, it seemed, the first thing you were against. At the end I guess your only problem is with the Higgs. Pretty welcome here.

    Yes, there must be a mixing of SU(2) and U(1). But no, I've never been against such a mixing. My incomplete draft paper from last October explains what I mean: (ignore underlined Psi symbols; they should have an overbar). My argument is that the mathematics of the Standard Model are being misapplied physically. The electroweak unification is achieved by mixing SU(2) with U(1) but not anywhere near the way it is done in the Standard Model. SU(2) is electroweak symmetry: the three gauge bosons exist in massless and massive forms. Massless charged bosons can't propagate unless the magnetic self inductance is cancelled, which can only happen in certain circumstances (e.g. a perfect equilibrium of exchange between two similar charge, so that the charged bosons going in each opposite direction have magnetic vectors than cancel one another, preventing infinite self-inductance, just electromagnetic energy in a light velocity logic step propagating along a two-conductor power transmission line). This effectively makes electric charge the extra polarizations that virtual photons need to account for attraction and repulsion in electromagnetism. The massive versions of those SU(2) bosons are the weak bosons, and arise not from a Higgs field but from a U(1) hypercharge/spin-1 quantum gravity theory. Thanks again for your comments.

    And, well, if you are mixing empirical with theoretical inputs, we shoud add to the boiling pot the top mass, should we? I mean, that g_w^2= 2 (Mw/Mtop)^2.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I'm enjoying reading your blog Nige, thanks for sharing.
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at
    Hi Alejandro,

    Thank you. Yes, definitely SU(2) weak symmetry is based on an enormous amount of good empirical evidence: what I'm questioning is "electroweak symmetry". Evidence for the broken and mixed U(1) symmetry and SU(2) symmetry is not at issue. What should be regarded as an open question is whether electroweak symmetry exists. The simplest default alternative to the Higgs-electroweak theory is to have a mixed but broken "electroweak symmetry", i.e. no electroweak symmetry. This is precisely what Feynman argued in the 1980s. Instead of having a Higgs field which makes weak field quanta massive at low energy but massless at high energy, you instead add a quantum gravity gauge theory to the standard model, which gives mass to the weak field quanta at all energies (as well as giving masses to other massive particles). The quantum gravity gauge theory has mass-energy as its charge and it has gravitons as its bosons. In other words, the Higgs/electroweak symmetry theory is a complete red-herring. If its advocates are allowed to continue their propaganda, then there will be no well-developed alternative to the Higgs/electroweak symmetry when the LHC rules out the Higgs. The result will be the usual last-minute panic with a consensus of ill-informed opinions promoting new epicycles to prop up nonsense (save face).

    What about the top quark coupling? it seems to point right towards the vacuum energy of electroweak symmetry breaking, so it is not only MW and MZ, the whole theory, higgs or higgsless, should have a place for

    Hi Alejandro,

    The problem here is that to answer this argument, I would have to discuss an alternative theory in detail, instead of just pointing out inconsistencies in the mainstream theory. Then critics will dismiss me as a crackpot and stip listening. But the top quark coupling seems to me to be evidence pointing exactly the other way, towards a quantum gravity gauge theory. The top quark mass fits in perfectly to a simple model for particle masses. The foundation is model for masses was a relationship between the Z boson mass and the electron mass (or similar) in a paper you wrote with Hans de Vries, so thank you for that. To summarize the essentials, we put a quantum gravity gauge group into the standard model in a very neat way (treating it like hypercharge), and remove the Higgs mass model. Mixing gives masses to the massive particles in a very novel way (not). A charged fundamental particle, eg a lepton, has a vacuum field around it with pair production producing pairs of fermions which are briefly polarized by the electric field of the fermion, and this shields the core charge (thus renormalization). The energy absorbed from the field by the act of polarization (reducing the electric field strength observed at long distances) moves the virtual fermions apart, and thus gives then a longer life on average before they annihilate. Ie, it causes a statistical violation of the uncertainty principle: the energy the off-shell (virtual) fermions absorb makes them move closer towards being on-shell. For the brief extra period of time (due to polarization) which they exist before annihilation, they therefore start to feel the Pauli exclusion principle and to behave more like on-shell fermions with a structured arrangement in space. One additional feature of this vacuum polarization effect in giving energy to virtual particles is that they briefly acquire a real mass. So the vacuum polarization has the effect of turning off-shell virtual fermions briefly into nearly on-shell fermions, simply by the energy they absorb from the electric field as they polarize! This vacuum mass and the Pauli exclusion principle have the effect of turning leptons into effectively the nuclei of little atoms, surrounded by virtual fermions which when being polarized add a Pauli exclusion principle structured real mass. It is this vacuum mass effect from the vacuum which is all-important for the tauon and also the top quark. The neutral Z acquires its mass by mixing of SU(2) with a quantum gravity gauge group.

    Uff, that page is an example of the same problem that happens in this thread: you start showing a problem (in the page, a nomenclature problem due to historic reasons, and weakly -pun- linked to the speculations about the existence or not of the neutral current and thus the Z0) that seems perfectly addressable within the current QFT framework. And then, next step, you tell that you need to use a completely new and different framework.

    And yep, it could be groupthinking vocabulary adquisition for young people, but most seniors physicist were across the whole process from fermi interaction to SM, and then they just were used to that kind of vocabulary.

    For the , Mz, Mw thing, I answer in the other comment above

    Feynman's opposition to "electroweak symmetry" is in Gleick's biography of Feynman:

    When a historian of science pressed him on the question of unification in his Caltech office, he resisted. “Your career spans the period of the construction of the standard model,” the interviewer said.

    ” ‘The standard model,’ ” Feynman repeated dubiously. . . .

    The interviewer was having trouble getting his question onto the table. “What do you call SU(3) X SU(2) X U(1)?”

    “Three theories,” Feynman said. “Strong interactions, weak interactions, and the electromagnetic. . . . The theories are linked because they seem to have similar characteristics. . . . Where does it go together? Only if you add some stuff we don’t know. There isn’t any theory today that has SU(3) X SU(2) X U(1) — whatever the hell it is — that we know is right, that has any experimental check. . . . "

    Contemporary physical theory rigorously derives from even-parity fundamental symmetries. That the universe is odd-parity chiral at all scales is an accommodated hierarchy of manually inserted aberrations ("symmetry breakings"). Therefrom derived quantized gravitations and SUSY are explicit: bollocks. Bollocks Calabi-Yau manifolds to bollocks Yukawa potentials. Nothing behaves on paper absent a parity-violating Chern-Simons term added to Einstein-Hilbert action (arxiv:0811.0181). Elegant untestable speculation is Phys. Rev. D stuffing. Carve the turkey for meat - experiment! Is the vacuum intrinsically chiral in the *massed* sector? That trace remnant would explain everything, beginning with a Big Bang chiral pseudoscalar false vacuum.

    Do opposite shoes violate the Equivalence Principle? Do chemically and macroscopically identical, inverse geometric parity atomic mass distributions vacuum free fall non-identically? Chirality does not exist in fundamental physical symmetries, for chirality is an extrinsic external emergent property. Massless photons (arxiv:0912.5057, 0905.1929, 0706.2031) are not diagnostic. Chiral mass is already observed to be unexplanably divergent (arxiv:1004.1761; 1007.2923, 1007.1150).
    Two parity Eotvos experiments.
    Structural chemistry for physicists - with pictures!

    Theory predicts what observation tells it to predict. Theory absent falsification is an illusion of knowledge eructating deformed decisions. Somebody should look, for "it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard Feynman. The worst parity Eotvos experiments can do is succeed., ending the abusive theoretic hegemony of beige.