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Dear Dr. B: How come we never hear of a force that the Higgs boson carries?

29 Aug 2016, 10:45 UTC
Dear Dr. B: How come we never hear of a force that the Higgs boson carries?
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“Dear Dr. Hossenfelder,First, I love your blog. You provide a great insight into the world of physics for us laymen. I have read in popular science books that the bosons are the ‘force carriers.’ For example the photon carries the electromagnetic force, the gluon, the strong force, etc. How come we never hear of a force that the Higgs boson carries?Ramiro Rodriguez”Dear Ramiro,The short answer is that you never hear of a force that the Higgs boson carries because it doesn’t carry one. The longer answer is that not all bosons are alike. This of course begs the question just how the Higgs-boson is different, so let me explain.The standard model of particle physics is based on gauge symmetries. This basically means that the laws of nature have to remain invariant under transformations in certain internal spaces, and these transformations can change from one place to the next and one moment to the next. They are what physics call “local” symmetries, as opposed to “global” symmetries whose transformations don’t change in space or time.Amazingly enough, the requirement of gauge symmetry automatically explains how particles interact. It works like this. You start with fermions, that are particles of half-integer spin, like ...

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