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CERN, Higgs Boson, High Energy Physics, Physics, Stephen Hawking, Uncategorized

The Higgs Field – Stephen Hawking is Right or Wrong?

      Much of physics is far too complicated for the ‘normal’ person to understand – but explained in the correct way it can all be understood.

–      Empty space is not empty – it is filled with something that is similar in a way to the force experienced in transparent water.

      A large object will resist water and a thin object will cut through the resistance of water; just as different particles have different resistance in the Higgs Field.

 

Ernest Rutherford, 1871 – 1937, Nobel Prize winner 1908, and instrumental in the development of the atomic model, said that a good scientist should be able to explain his work to a barmaid. By this he meant that Physicists have an obligation to communicate their findings in a way that can be understood by people uninitiated in physics. It is my intention to explain the Higgs Field in these simple terms too.

However, quite often in the field of science, theories not only crack, they often crumble and fall into an abyss. Sometimes ideas are discarded and the theories have to be totally rediscovered at a later date. Scientific theorists’ arguments ensue and camps of believers and nonbelievers are drawn to their specific corners. So ‘what’ of the Higgs Field – especially as Hawkin is concerned?

Both the famous physicians Nikola Tesla, 1856 – 1943, and Ernest Rutherford, 1871 – 1937, believed that nuclear power was never going to be possible.

These are most revered and respected scientists!

It brings into question exactly how much of the information written within text books is actually true and what are the premises that eminent scientists are founding their work on today.

But how many mainstream theories and concepts amongst the depths of Mankind’s knowledge are inaccurate, misleading or ill-founded?

Who knows?

Here is one for example.

Let us take Ernest Rutherford as an example and compare his thoughts to how our view of the Higgs particle is today.

Ernest Rutherford, who was one of Joseph John Thomson’s students, gained the Nobel Prize in 1908 for discovering that the atom has a small, charged nucleus. He managed to achieve this by using his famous gold foil experiment, which had the effect of probing the structure of the atom. He fired a beam of alpha particles, produced by the radioactive decay of radium, onto a very thin sheet of gold foil. He then analysed the results using zinc sulphide. A sheet of zinc sulphide surrounding the gold foil acted as the detector, and would light up each time it was hit by an alpha particle.

The results showed that the current ‘plum pudding model’ could not be right, as all the alpha particles should have been deflected by a number of degrees. Instead it was found that a very low proportion of alpha particles were deflected through angles much larger than ninety degrees.

It had been expected that the alpha particles would have passed straight through the ‘plum pudding model’ without any deflection. However, what was observed was that a small proportion of the alpha particles were deflected, which was indicative of a concentrated positive charge.

Now here comes the interesting bit.

Neils Bohr, 1885 – 1962, conscientiously embarked upon a quest to determine and define the precise composition of an atom. After just a few years he came up with his theory and announced his findings. We have stuck with his view ever since.

I find this rather extraordinary.

Perhaps someone should question it. It is this understanding that Hawking and others have used to predict the existence or non-existence of the Higgs Field.

However, it just so happens that some scientists have increasingly become sceptical of the Bohr concept. The Bohr model explains how electrons orbit the central nucleus of an atom at a fixed distance. This is the model that makes the atom look similar to a tiny solar system.

The model actually gives very good results for the hydrogen atom, but starts breaking down quickly as you increase the atomic number.

We all know that matter is made up of atoms, but very few people really understand the true size and nature of an atom. Atoms are very tiny, very tiny indeed; in fact they are so tiny that a single rain water drop contains roughly two thousand billion, billion atoms of oxygen and four thousand billion, billion atoms of hydrogen. An average one square centimetre of matter similar to a dice contains roughly eight million, billion, billion atoms.

To put this in true perspective, look at the end of one of your fingers, which you can see is roughly one square centimetre. If every atom in the end of your finger was a football, there would be enough footballs to cover the total surface of the Earth, land and sea, roughly twenty miles deep. Another analogy is to take an apple and magnify it up to the size of planet Earth. Each atom will then be roughly the size of the original apple.

The tiny size of an atom is not the only amazing thing about its make-up. The atom consists of a central core that is made of a number of neutrons and protons, depending upon which type of atom it is. The simplest atom is hydrogen, which consists of one proton in the centre of the atom and one electron orbiting around it. Knowing already how small atoms are, now add to this fact that the centre of this atom is one ten thousandth the actual diameter of the atom with the electron orbiting around it.

On this scale, let us imagine we scale up an atom to be the size of a four mile diameter ball, then the only hard substance of the atom would be a golf-ball-sized proton in the centre, and a speck of sand representing the electron orbiting around the golf ball at the edge of the four mile diameter ball. The rest of the atom is totally empty space. Another incredible fact is that the electron has been calculated to be orbiting the central proton fifteen billion times a second!

The problem facing physicists is that the weight of matter just does not make sense, as the atom is made up almost entirely of empty space. Now that scientists understand the make-up of atoms, when calculating the weight of an object there is a massive discrepancy between its actual weight and the weight it should be according to calculations.

Everything appears to be much heavier than it should be.

Something is not revealing itself!

This has driven physicists to frantically try to discover why matter is heavier than it should be. The most plausible theory presented to date is the Higgs Mechanism, developed by Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University. It proposes a background Higgs Field that interacts with matter called the Higgs Condensate.

The theory gets us to imagine that everything weighs nothing. After all, the size of neutrons, protons and electrons within an atom is absolutely negligible. In reality, the atom of the heaviest element consists of virtually nothing. Electrons weigh nothing or virtually nothing or else they would not be able to travel at the speed of light within electrical currents; anything with mass gets heavier the closer it gets to the speed of light.

Now imagine for a moment the Universe is totally filled throughout with a force something a little like transparent water. Just like very clear water it is not visible to us – all forces are not visible to us, but their effects are. If we call this invisible water-like field that is filling the Universe the Higgs Field, then you are part way to understanding how the mechanism could work.

This Higgs Field interacts with components of atoms to give them weight; otherwise they would all fly off at the speed of light just as a totally weightless beam of light does.

The properties of light and electrons are such that they do not interact or become affected by the Higgs Field, but atoms will. More complicated atoms that constitute the likes of lead and iron have more neutrons and protons, and hence interact more with the Higgs Field than lighter atoms, such as those of hydrogen.

Without the Higgs Field, everything would fly off at the speed of light; atoms that make up everything, including us, really should accelerate to the speed of light, but as they interact with the Higgs Field they are unable to. The more interaction an atomor particle has with the Higgs Field, the heavier it becomes. Light would appear not to have any mass, and therefore it makes sense that it is able to totally ignore the Higgs field pretty much as if it is not there.

On the other hand, when looking at lead or iron, their molecules are very much influenced by the Higgs Field. Lead and iron appear to be much more aware of the Higgs Field, and, as a consequence, take on more mass. The analogy here with our water-like Higgs Field is that we have an oar that obviously resists the water; compare this with a coat hanger that will glide through the water with much less resistance.

With this in mind, who knows, we could even start looking at the Higgs Field as being the source of gravity. Just as the flow of water currents will carry plastic bags, the Higgs Field could be influenced by the curvature of space-time by a celestial body such as a planet. This could perhaps produce a force similar to a current within water, attracting atoms towards the planet’s centre by placing constant directional pressure upon them.

So the conclusion is this, Steven Hawkin is clever enough to realise that the Higgs does not exist, he has eluded to this. Theses are my thoughts too – it is wishful thinking which has now been proved wrong. We just await the announcement. There were some tell-tale signs in a recent documentary made by the BBC – some guy on film said in a jovial voice, “Of course if we find it does not exist, then we will be just as happy … we would have eliminated this line of enquiry.” This then justifies the £6billion spend without anyone being up in arms.

I rest my case – however, I am extremely prepared to be wrong. I hope I am.

This article is being contributed by “ROB LOWE”  

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Discussion

8 thoughts on “The Higgs Field – Stephen Hawking is Right or Wrong?

  1. Yeah, sometimes a negative result is just as good as a positive one. Hopefully these new experiments at the LHC will finalize some of the details. Keep up the good work. It’s interesting to think what they might say if they found the actual Higgs boson, though. I wrote a Top 10 list of what CERN scientists might say; feel free to check it out for a laugh http://wp.me/p1SONx-3t

    Posted by Tim Barzyk | February 1, 2012, 11:56 AM
  2. I’m a school teacher from India,
    and often student don’t like to get extra knowledge or just do science because its a good career choice.
    today I read this article in class for them and they all liked it and kept me asking questions…
    thankyou IYSN..

    Posted by Roshan Lobo | February 3, 2012, 10:03 PM
    • Roshan

      So pleased your class enjoyed the extract from my book – incidentally, this article was an adaptation specially for iysn. Please message me at rob.lowe@theeccentricuniverse.com and I will be delighted to send your class a signed copy of my book – please provide the names of your class members and I will be more than happy to personalise the signing.

      Best wishes to you all, I look forward to sending you a copy of my book and hearing how you get on with it.

      Kind regards

      Rob Lowe

      Posted by Rob Lowe | February 3, 2012, 10:19 PM
  3. Though an article with Stephen Hawking or Higgs Field interests me, this extract from “The Eccentric Universe” is epic, its an absolute reading pleasure. Sometimes you have the knowledge and articles seem boring, but this one did not 🙂 , It actually was very interesting, had all stuff packed into one nice article, will surely try and get the book reach my school library.

    Posted by Mohit Singhala | February 3, 2012, 10:46 PM
  4. I am a Class XII student and I find this the simplest and best article on Higgs.

    I am looking forward to your book Rob.

    Thanks a ton.

    Posted by Samir Patnaik | February 7, 2012, 11:25 PM
  5. Do you have any comments on the resent announcment from CERN?

    Posted by Bengt | July 5, 2012, 12:14 PM
  6. Well… they found a new particle… Although they haven’t officially named it, it appears to be awefully higgish… I think they may have found more than they were looking for though… there may be something more than “standard’ about the Higgs (forgive the pun)

    Posted by Justin Hall | August 14, 2012, 7:16 AM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Breaking News: Higgs Boson’s Discovery Is Announced « Indian Young Scientist Network - July 5, 2012

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