Web edition: August 10, 2012
Print edition: August 25, 2012; Vol.182 #4 (p. 31)
Higgs affects inertia, not gravity
In the articles on the Higgs field in the July 28 issue, the Higgs boson was described as giving rise to the mass and therefore the inertia of particles, and the articles said the Higgs causes particles to “resist motion.” Newton’s first law states that inertia or mass is the property of matter that resists changes in motion, whereas drag is the resistance to motion. Can you explain the apparent conflict between your description and Newton’s first law?
Sherman S. Steadman, via e-mail
I am confused about this statement in “Behind the Higgs” (SN: 7/28/12, p. 26): “With the Higgs field, physicists completed the standard model, which accurately describes the behaviors of all known particles and forces (except gravity).” Elsewhere the articles explain how the Higgs field infuses certain particles with mass. Isn’t mass the basis of gravity — massive entities attracting each other?
Sam Henrie, via e-mail