What I've been thinking about...
My public wrestling with understanding of the Higgs field continues… I’m slowly making my way through a long and content-rich reddit post, giving individual ideas a day or so to take root before I force them to support new shoots of their own. See my first round of questions here, and my first reaction to the reddit post here.
The poster, who goes by B_For_Bandana, explains that the basic constituents of the universe should be understood to be Fields, and not Particles.
First, realize that, contrary to popular belief, the basic objects in physics are not particles but fields. A field is a quantity that, loosely speaking, is spread over all space and can change over time. The electric field is a good example, but the electric field is not unique; every kind of particle we talk about has its own field. So there is such a thing as an electron field, which is like a distributed fluid of electron-stuff everywhere in space. What we observe as particles are actually disturbances or ripples in the field. Of course a ripple looks sort of like an independent thing, but it is actually “just” a disturbance in the underlying field. All particles are actually these types of ripples…
…All fields obey laws which state how they interact with themselves and each other (all these laws put together comprise the famous Standard Model).
I’m somewhat familiar with the idea of probability fields from quantum physics. However, the idea of an “electron field” which (in some sense) covers all electrons is new to me.
I was aware of the reverse switch, where gravitons are posited instead of the usual gravity field. I always believed this was more of a conceptual device used to handle a “quantum” of gravity (the minimal unit), but it seems that the field/particle duality should be thouht of as essential - not just to gravity, but to all particles.
Fields Acting on Fields
I’ve always considered that each of the four forces had an energy field, and each particle had quantities (like mass and charge) that dictate receptivity levels to each of the fields. Now it seems I must consider fields acting on fields. The gravity field produces effects on the Higgs field, which passes those effects on to each field representing a massive particle. Have I got that right?
It seems I must convert three categories from my previous ontology into fields:
So an applied force of gravity involves three fields… one for the force of Gravity, one for the particles, and one for the property of Mass. I only feel barely more than half sure of this assertion, and I’ll attempt to investigate it further for my next post in the vein of “Advanced Physics for Amateurs”. So far, I must admit this sounds too complicated to be credible. Though I am willing to take it on faith that “The Standard Model” makes good predictions, and perhaps does not work without something like the Higgs Field.
Also, given all the fields posited here, it actually seems to be a massive unexplained coincidence that receptivity-to-gravity varies exactly as inertia does. Is it not simpler to assume only one field/property instead of two? More to come…