Universe Soup: How the Higgs Field Made My Day

This morning my friend Ed plopped a Smithsonian magazine down on the restaurant table. An article by Brian Greene had caught his attention. Reading it, the Higgs boson finally made sense to him—without any "God Particle" horsepuckey. I read it too, and the factoid that made my day was, actually, old news that never made it into the popular press before: the "Higgs boson" they discovered with the Large Collider was simply a chunk of, or a distortion in, something much greater, something that Higgs had postulated decades ago: the Higgs field. The idea was that all quantum particles are, in a sense, "massless."  The mass we detect is a function of their movement within a universe-wide, constant and consistent field of "stuff."  Oh, just read the article, OK?

You may know what I think of the Big Bang thing. It's become a religion. Believers ran out of science decades ago, and they've desperately invented new demons and miracles—I mean, dark forces—to keep their PhD dissertations relevant and their glossy coffee-table books in print. See my last rant about that.

Hubble was wrong.   That red shift doesn't indicate an expanding universe at all. Yes, some of it is indeed a function of distance, but the red shifted objects (stars and galaxies) aren't moving away from us. The only movement is those photons that start there and (some, anyway) arrive here. Until now, the problem with my late friend Leo Frankowski's hypothesis that those photons were red-shifted (lower energy) because they were tired from travelling all those billions of light years, was that there had to be something, some force or resistance to their movement, to tire them out.   And there wasn't anything out there.   Anything solid that got in the way would send photons off on a tangent, scattering the light from their distant source so it became a blur, or absorbing it and entirely obscuring the source.   We’d never know.

Now there's the Higgs Field (I know, it was there all along, but until the LHC knocked a morsel off it and formed, ever-so-briefly, a Higgs boson, no one would admit it, or publish articles about it. I don't know if Leo has a grave to roll over in. I hope so. Consider that the Higgs field resists the movement of quantum particles, and we call the result mass. Now people say photons have no "rest" mass, but they gain some from traveling so fast—light speed right? E=MC2? I'm not sure I follow that logic. E=0 x C2= 0. But massless particles moving through the Higgs field express mass. If they gain mass, do they lose energy?How better to show that than by getting red and old and tired? Red shift. No expanding universe, no Big Bang. Just photons pushing their way through the Higgs soup that, incidentally, goes on forever and ever, and always has, and always will.