Ideal gas law vs. Higgs?
Most recent answer: 09/21/2013
- David Lely (age 38)
Mesa, AZ, USA
This is an interesting question about putting together some different pieces of physics. There are several unrelated ways in which it turns out that things don't happen that way.
First, and most important for more routine physics problems, the ideal gas law is a good approximation only under certain special conditions. It requires that there be a fixed number of particles, sparse enough so that there are many free quantum states available per particle and that the average interaction energies of the particles aren't very important. None of these conditions would apply.
Secondly, there is some very high temperature at which the basic Higgs symmetry is restored and the Higgs mechanism for generating rest masses is lost. I don't believe that is relevant to ordinary stellar collapse, but even under conditions under which it was relevant, the process doesn't violate energy conservation. The mass that serves as a source of gravity is not the sum of the rest masses of the particles but rather just the total energy (divided by c2 if you choose to use those units.) Thus the energy driving the gravitation would remain.
(published on 09/21/2013)