Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Isotopic Spin? It's Just The Higgs

Isotopic spin and the Higgs mechanism are two major features of the Standard Model that I’ve written about on this blog, but I just realized that for some unknown reason I’ve never pointed out that these two phenomena are closely related. One could almost say that they’re the same phenomenon. Mainstream physicists have no idea that this is the case. I’ll correct this oversight in this post.
e here that spacetime consists of points, some of which are bosonic and some fermionic. I told you here about inflation, the super-rapid expansion of spacetime that ends with the universe oscillating with energy, some of which is absorbed by points to form particles, which are excited spacetime points as explained here. The next step was to show here that some of the fermionic points move between time ticks while others are stationary. We finally got to the Higgs field here, where we saw that the ratio of stationary points to moving points is revealed by the vacuum expectation value of the Higgs field. The Higgs field has a potential energy that’s proportional to its vacuum expectation value. It evolves towards the minimum of its potential, which happens to be zero, but quantum effects keep it from getting there, so the ratio of stationary fermionic points to moving fermionic points settles at a constant value of about 10-17. This ratio applies only to points, not to particles.

An excited stationary point is an electron. An excited moving point is a neutrino. A moving electron is a quantum superposition of the two. The Standard Model identifies the electron and the neutrino as the same particle with different values of an intrinsic symmetry called weak isotopic spin, or weak isospin. Reactions that change these particles into each other are considered examples of the weak interaction and are said to be mediated by virtual particles called W and Z bosons.

The Higgs field maintains its vacuum expectation value by changing moving points to stationary points and vice versa. This goes on all the time. If some of the changing points happen to host particles, we see weak interactions involving W and Z bosons. So you see, weak interactions are just the particle manifestation of the Higgs field doing its thing.