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