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Q & A: negative mass via Higgs?

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Most recent answer: 06/19/2015
Q:
Is it possible that a particle interacts negatively with the Higgs Field, having negative mass?What would happen if a particle it interacts simultaneously with two or more Higgs Fields?
- Luís Fé Santos (age 52)
Portugal
A:

Interesting questions. I'm not sure if the form of the theory forbids those negative masses, but they would be inconsistent with the stability of the vacuum.

Let's say that the interaction between some particle and the Higgs field made a negative energy. The interaction with the antiparticle would have the same energy. (Particles and antiparticles have the same rest energy.) So creation of a particle-antiparticle pair would release energy (as photons or something) and thus increase entropy. So the thermodynamically stable state would have more and more of these particles until it became a completely different vacuum, unlike anything we see. So if there were such negative energy excitations, the universe would change into something different where there no such excitations.

There are version of the Higgs theory that have fields more complicated than a simple one-component scalar. People say that these lead to some experimental consequences that may be checked in ongoing experiments. Unfortunately, I don't know the details. You can get started by looking here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson#Alternative_models.

Mike W.


(published on 06/19/2015)

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