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What if we could split the Higgs boson?

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The standard model of particle physics assumes the Higgs boson is an elementary particle. But what if, rather like the proton, it is itself made up of particles?

We know the standard model is incomplete because it cannot explain all the phenomena we observe (see "Beyond Higgs: Deviant decays hint at exotic physics"). Tweaking the model to make the Higgs a composite of quark-like particles, bound together by a new force, could solve this problem. It turns out that there is more than one way to arrange these new particles and forces to produce something akin to dark matter.

To see if the boson reported last week at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, could be such a composite, Alex Pomarol from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain has started to compare decay data for the new particle with predictions of how a composite Higgs would decay inside the Large Hadron Collider. He told the International Conference on High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia, that the observed decays are not outside the range predicted by composite models - and that a composite Higgs is a possibility.

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heavens, let's not get too ambitious. We've only just (possibly) discovered the thing, let's try to find out something about it first before we try to do anything cleer with it. Who knows what it might unleash.

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Posted (edited)

heavens, let's not get too ambitious. We've only just (possibly) discovered the thing, let's try to find out something about it first before we try to do anything cleer with it. Who knows what it might unleash.

I can only imagine, my friend. Splitting the particle that is the reason for everything that exists? That very thought seems ominous. :| We already know what happens when you split an atom.

Edited by Alienated Being

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Could be interesting, really intersting.

Walking before we can run maybe?

Thanks for the post!

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ohh question. .I like the way you think mate !!!

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I don't have any idea and probably would not understand it. I like to read about such things so I won't be too dumb at my age. I'm more worried about getting my income each month to last the whole month. Things after retirement have been very different - whole new world. Truly a learn as you go experience. I'm having fun with it.

texaskat

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Um, we DID split it. The particle only existed for a small fraction of a second. What it's made of is part of the theory that led to the particle's possible discovery to begin with. I don't get it.

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Um, we DID split it. The particle only existed for a small fraction of a second. What it's made of is part of the theory that led to the particle's possible discovery to begin with. I don't get it.

I think it is more correct to say the Higgs decayed.

If the particle discovered in the LHC recently was an elementary excitation of a gauge field, then the energy contained in that elementary excitation can dissipate through a variety of mechanics (photon decay channels, lepton decay channels, etc.). This is not the same as splitting that particle.

Afterall, an electron is a fundamental particle (in theory) but electron/anti-electron annihilation or electron-proton capture can produce photons, neutrinos, etc.

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I think it is more correct to say the Higgs decayed.

If the particle discovered in the LHC recently was an elementary excitation of a gauge field, then the energy contained in that elementary excitation can dissipate through a variety of mechanics (photon decay channels, lepton decay channels, etc.). This is not the same as splitting that particle.

Afterall, an electron is a fundamental particle (in theory) but electron/anti-electron annihilation or electron-proton capture can produce photons, neutrinos, etc.

No particle decays into things it is not made of :huh: The point of splitting something is seeing what it's made of. Is there a difference? An electron doesn't decay on its own (well, not for all practical purposes).

I think the article is talking about whether those things Higgs is made of, can be rearranged to make other particles we don't know of. Not the same as saying "splitting the higgs particle" - all I'm saying.

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No particle decays into things it is not made of :huh: The point of splitting something is seeing what it's made of. Is there a difference?

Yes. The Higgs is an elementary excitation of a scalar gauge field. The boson that was observed at the LHC was primarily detected via 2-photon decay.

Photons are elementary excitations of a vector gauge field. Neither the theoretical Higgs nor the actual boson observed at the LHC are made of photons.

A collision between a proton and an antiproton would produce two photons as well. Neither the proton nor the antiproton are made of photons.

Splitting a particle and the possible decay/annihilation paths of that particle are different things. In the former, we are getting a glimpse of the substructure of that particle, in the latter we are seeing how the energy released in the decay can couple to other fields.

As a final example; consider beta decay. A neutron (three quarks) can decay into an electron, an antineutrino, and a proton (three quarks). A neutron is not made of electrons though; the electron (and the antineutrino, for that matter) are created since the conversion of one quark into another couples to the fermionic lepton field.

It is kind of semantic, I suppose, but the gist is that elementary particles can decay, but can't be split (they have no substructure).

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