Study Investigates Interaction between the Higgs Particle and Gravity

Gravity May Have Saved the Universe

A newly published study details how the spacetime curvature provided the stability needed for the universe to survive after the Big Bang.

Studies of the Higgs particle – discovered at CERN in 2012 and responsible for giving mass to all particles – have suggested that the production of Higgs particles during the accelerating expansion of the very early universe (inflation) should have led to instability and collapse.

Scientists have been trying to find out why this didn’t happen, leading to theories that there must be some new physics that will help explain the origins of the universe that has not yet been discovered. Physicists from Imperial College London, and the Universities of Copenhagen and Helsinki, however, believe there is a simpler explanation.

In a new study in Physical Review Letters, the team describe how the spacetime curvature – in effect, gravity – provided the stability needed for the universe to survive expansion in that early period. The team investigated the interaction between the Higgs particles and gravity, taking into account how it would vary with energy.

They show that even a small interaction would have been enough to stabilize the universe against decay.

“The Standard Model of particle physics, which scientists use to explain elementary particles and their interactions, has so far not provided an answer to why the universe did not collapse following the Big Bang,” explains Professor Arttu Rajantie, from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London.

“Our research investigates the last unknown parameter in the Standard Model – the interaction between the Higgs particle and gravity. This parameter cannot be measured in particle accelerator experiments, but it has a big effect on the Higgs instability during inflation. Even a relatively small value is enough to explain the survival of the universe without any new physics!”

The team plan to continue their research using cosmological observations to look at this interaction in more detail and explain what effect it would have had on the development of the early universe. In particular, they will use data from current and future European Space Agency missions measuring cosmic microwave background radiation and gravitational waves.

“Our aim is to measure the interaction between gravity and the Higgs field using cosmological data,” says Professor Rajantie. “If we are able to do that, we will have supplied the last unknown number in the Standard Model of particle physics and be closer to answering fundamental questions about how we are all here.”

The research is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, along with the Villum Foundation, in Denmark, and the Academy of Finland.

Publication: M. Herranen, et al., “Spacetime curvature and the Higgs stability during inflation,” Physical Review Letters, published online 17 November 2014; doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.211102

PDF Copy of the Study: Spacetime curvature and the Higgs stability during inflation

Source: Laura Gallagher, Imperial College London

Image: Imperial College London

1 Comment on "Study Investigates Interaction between the Higgs Particle and Gravity"

  1. Madanagopal.V.C. | November 24, 2014 at 7:42 am | Reply

    When the initial expansion happened after the Big Bang, when quarks were just produced as a precursor for the predominant Hydrogen gas in the Universe, let us not bring in gravity into it. It was a gravity free universe and the expansion went on undeterred in all the directions.The birth of the Higgs Boson then should not have posed any problem with gravity. Gravity came into play only after neutrons and protons were formed, But once gravity was born then it captured Higgs Boson and trapped it into mass of the new PARTICLE which were created from quarks. It is the gravity free world wherelight photons and gamma ray photons etc had a free ride in the universe. So, much so the neutrinos which is end product of quark formation also travelled freely. They never had a taste of Higgs Boson initially. The subsequent birth of color forces namely red, blue and green had been trapped by HIggs Boson and they account for the Bosonic mass.It can be assumed that no firm neutron and proton like small particles happened in the much prevalent DArk Matter until Higgs Boson got its birth. Higgs could act only in macro level and no planet like formation also possible in the Dark Matter Universe. We can extend the logic in anti-matter formation also and only the light matter, gave birth to indivividual stable atoms when Higgs played with gravity to give a unique world. Higgs came conquered and gone untraced. It is no more creating new particles. What we get as exotic particles in CERN and other acceleratos will all be highly unstable being not able to be caught by Higgs to produce permanent particle. Thank You.

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