A Higgs-gravity connection may leave traces in white dwarfs

September 29, 2014 by Lisa Zyga feature
Image of Sirius A and Sirius B taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Sirius B, which is a white dwarf, can be seen as a faint pinprick of light to the lower left of the much brighter Sirius A. Image: NASA, ESA

(Phys.org) —The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2012 marked an important step toward understanding the origin of the mass of fundamental particles. Since mass plays a major role in gravity, the Higgs could also reveal insights into the nature of gravity. One possibility is that the Higgs field could couple to a specific spacetime curvature, a scenario that is invoked in various extensions of the standard model.

Now, scientists have shown that dying stars called white dwarfs can be used to investigate and place limits on the coupling between the Higgs field and spacetime curvature. The study, by Roberto Onofrio at the University of Padova in Italy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Gary A. Wegner at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, is published in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

"Conceptually, I think that our work is trying to create a 'common' language between microphysics and macrophysics in the following sense," Onofrio told Phys.org. "So far, people have looked for the consequences of the Higgs field in the microworld, at the so-called Fermi scale, i.e., the attometer scale (1 am = 10-18 m), and for the consequences of gravity at the macroscopic scale, from an apple upward in terms of size and masses. Yet, both have in common the central role that plays in the of elementary particle physics and in gravitation. So by starting to talk of masses involving both the Higgs field (which is supposed to give inertial mass to all ) and gravitation (where the gravitational mass of a body is a key concept), one can check for their consistency or for the presence of possible contradictions."

A handful of high-gravity astrophysical objects, such as primordial black holes and active galactic nuclei, have been proposed to investigate crosstalk between the Higgs and gravity. However, white dwarfs have the unique advantage of showing both molecular and atomic lines in their light emission spectra. Since the Higgs-curvature coupling is expected to affect the atomic lines, but not the molecular lines, a comparison of both lines is needed.

The reason that the coupling only affects atomic lines is due to the different origins of the electron mass and the masses of protons and neutrons (nucleons). Most of the nucleons' mass arises from massless gluonic fields; being massless, they do not couple to the Higgs field. Molecular transitions that only depend on the nuclei mass, therefore, are not affected by the Higgs-curvature coupling. In contrast, the Higgs-curvature coupling does affect the mass of electrons and other fermions by adding to these particles' inertial masses.

White dwarfs contain large amounts of carbon and emit a distinct spectrum involving vibrational spectra as well as vibronic transitions between electronic states. In the presence of a Higgs-curvature coupling, the vibrational levels, which are proportional to the nucleon mass, should stay constant. However, the electronic energy levels, which are proportional to the electron mass, should be shifted.

The electron mass shift induced by the Higgs field sets an upper bound on the coupling between the Higgs field and spacetime curvature that is 10 orders of magnitude more stringent than bounds set by table-top experiments based on tests of the superposition principle for gravitational interactions. The new bounds are also the first set on this coupling by an astrophysical object.

Understanding the Higgs-curvature coupling has several implications. A variety of proposed models that invoke this coupling suggest that the Higgs may play the role of the inflaton, or that the Higgs may serve as a mechanism to suppress the dark energy contribution of quantum fields to the level compatible with observations.

In the future, the spectroscopic analysis could be improved by observing signals from additional , and perhaps extended to the case of stronger gravity neutron stars, though it is hard in this last case to detect spectroscopic features.

Explore further: New study furthers Einstein's 'theory of everything'

More information: Roberto Onofrio and Gary A Wegner. "Search for Higgs Shifts in White Dwarfs." The Astrophysical Journal. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/791/2/125

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28 comments

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bxm
5 / 5 (4) Sep 29, 2014
http://arxiv.org/abs/1409.1000 For now mass ratio of proton and electron is same as in lab
Goika
Sep 29, 2014
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Goika
Sep 29, 2014
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Goika
Sep 29, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
4.5 / 5 (15) Sep 29, 2014
As I explained here, in AWT
@Goika-Zeph
and as I explained HERE at PO and with this: http://arxiv.org/...1284.pdf

AWT is LONG DEAD
but that's not all... you can also read THIS: http://exphy.uni-...2009.pdf

guess what IT tell you?
THAT's RIGHT!
AWT is PSEUDOSCIENCE
awt is DEBUNKED PSEUDOSCIENCE at that!

arom
Sep 29, 2014
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Returners
1 / 5 (15) Sep 29, 2014
Paste in Youtube and watch.

jTOksj0ZIFc

Not my video, but impressive break-down of the screw-up which we know as "Dark Matter", which ties into this whole "Higgs Field" thing big time, since they are both explanations of the very large and the very small of attraction.

He shows some obvious, but scarcely mentioned, reasons why one of the biggest "evidences" for DM is clearly false, and completely impossible.

-Violates the laws of conservation.
-Violates the laws of thermodynamics.
-Is not observed to interact with Earth or the Solar system.
-Bullet Cluster "evidence" and associated claims are qualitatively and quantitatively proven to be false.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.1 / 5 (13) Sep 29, 2014
Lrrkrrr

Why can't you post a complete link like normal people? Is this like how orthodox jews have to spell god 'g_d' because of the fear that discarding bits and pixels of his holiness is somehow disrespectful?

Or is it something more mundane like an obsessive-compulsive neurosis? How often do you wash your hands?

Or maybe you just don't know that you're allowed to post links, because you didn't bother to look as usual.

malapropism
5 / 5 (11) Sep 29, 2014
, the vibrational levels, which are proportional to the nucleon mass, should stay constant. However, the electronic energy levels, which are proportional to the electron mass, should be shifted
In AWT exactly the opposite should be true...

So assuming some astrophysicist performs the observations, I guess this will give an unparalleled opportunity to either indicate that your AWT theory is possibly correct or falsify it once and for all, in view of your prediction above? Will you accept the results, whichever way the outcome falls?
Steve 200mph Cruiz
3 / 5 (2) Sep 29, 2014
Does anyone have a good link to how the higgs field works? The way I understood it was that all particles could be viewed as having a place on a spectrum of mass and energy, with the particles placement on that scale determining its interaction. Photons being on one end with no interaction and the heaviest quark being on the other with the greatest interaction, but that doesn't sound correct now.
Eseta
Sep 30, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
saposjoint
4.4 / 5 (13) Sep 30, 2014
Zephyr, you ignorant slut.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4 / 5 (6) Sep 30, 2014
Does anyone have a good link to how the higgs field works? The way I understood it was that all particles could be viewed as having a place on a spectrum of mass and energy, with the particles placement on that scale determining its interaction. Photons being on one end with no interaction and the heaviest quark being on the other with the greatest interaction, but that doesn't sound correct now.
Yah.
https://www.google.com
Returners
1.4 / 5 (9) Sep 30, 2014
Lrrkrrr

Why can't you post a complete link like normal people? Is this like how orthodox jews have to spell god 'g_d' because of the fear that discarding bits and pixels of his holiness is somehow disrespectful?


Some sites don't allow full links in their posts.

In the past, when I tried full links to youtube they did not work.
Virex
5 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2014
Steve 200mph Cruiz, to undersatand the Higgs field propperly one would first need to understand quantum field theory and that's a physics graduate course and a half. However, dr. prof. Leonard Suskind has given several consice and in-depth presentations on the Higgs boson for laypeople with an undergrad understanding of physics. Best of all, you can find them on youtube.
laura_fridley_9
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 30, 2014
There's some discussion in the comments regarding Dark Matter and I'd like to contribute my thoughts on this here. There is no doubt that there is a mystery involved with the rotational speed of galaxies. <-- That is not the problem. The problem has arisen in astrophysics when the logical acknowledgement that SOMETHING must be causing this was reified into this stuff we now call Dark Matter. Somewhere along the line, this placeholder was accepted as real stuff in the popular media and in the scientific establishment. Obviously, people with more imagination as well as scientific training needs to take a fresh look at this phenomenon. We just don't know enough to call the causal agent actual matter, dark or otherwise.
AmritSorli
1 / 5 (4) Oct 02, 2014
Mass and gravity have origin in a fundamental symmetry between a given particle and quantum vacuum. http://article.sc...3.11.pdf
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2014
Molecular transitions that only depend on the nuclei mass, therefore, are not affected by the Higgs-curvature coupling.
There is an error in this sentence: should be "nuclear mass," not "nuclei mass."

Other than that, excellent article, and excellent news. This would add a high degree of consilience to the detection of the Higgs.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2014
Does anyone have a good link to how the higgs field works?
Here's a good way to think about it: every particle has a "Higgs charge" that determines its mass. This charge is larger for heavier particles and smaller for lighter ones. This charge determines how it interacts with the vacuum, with heavier particles having more momentum than lighter particles at the same velocity. Also, this charge is associated with how it interacts with *curvature* of the vacuum, i.e. gravity. How, we don't quite yet know, but these interactions appear in all cases to determine *both* momentum and gravity interactions *the same*.
The way I understood it was that all particles could be viewed as having a place on a spectrum of mass and energy, with the particles placement on that scale determining its interaction. Photons being on one end with no interaction and the heaviest quark being on the other with the greatest interaction,
So far so good.
but that doesn't sound correct now.
Why not?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (2) Oct 06, 2014
A note to the above post: the postulate that gravitational and inertial mass are the same is called the "equivalence principle" in GRT.

Also, 5 stars. Good questions.

Ghost, funny, but shame on you. Be nice to the n00bs. Good questions are the foundation of any good science forum.
castro
Oct 06, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
castro
Oct 06, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
saposjoint
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 06, 2014
Zephyr, you ignorant slut. How many socks do you need, you halfwit?
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Oct 11, 2014
There's some discussion in the comments regarding Dark Matter and I'd like to contribute my thoughts on this here. There is no doubt that there is a mystery involved with the rotational speed of galaxies. <-- That is not the problem. The problem has arisen in astrophysics when the logical acknowledgement that SOMETHING must be causing this was reified into this stuff we now call Dark Matter. Somewhere along the line, this placeholder was accepted as real stuff in the popular media and in the scientific establishment. Obviously, people with more imagination as well as scientific training needs to take a fresh look at this phenomenon. We just don't know enough to call the causal agent actual matter, dark or otherwise.
Well, technically we don't know it's fermions, which due to their laws of spin and statistics we identify as "matter." But since it exerts gravity (obviously) calling it "matter" isn't a major stretch. Originally they thought it was just ordinary matter.
TEP320
Oct 11, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TEP320
Oct 11, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TEP320
Oct 11, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Oct 11, 2014
(IMO false) dismissal of tired light model
@Zephir-tep320
opinion is nice, but irrelevant
is there some empirical evidence that you have giving good cause to keep holding onto the tired light model or is this just another "faith based" issue like your aw/daw beliefs, even in the face of empirical evidence? like this part
Whereas in dense aether model
How many times do i have to remind you that daw/aw is officially dead?
proven, empirically
here:
http://arxiv.org/...1284.pdf
and
http://exphy.uni-...2009.pdf

Clinging to it doesn't make you some hero or insightful person, it makes you stupid

try learning about real physics and then come back and prove aw/daw is valid: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

the daw/aw problem is simple: NO EVIDENCE except in your head/faith/belief

IOW - it is pseudoscience

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