Last week we discussed the detection of the Higgs boson, which would prove a stunning theory about how matter is created. This article describes the Higgs field, one of physics' Holy Grails that science is on the verge of proving.
The best way to understand the action of the Higgs field is to picture the universe as giant tank of water or a swimming pool. The water in the tank is a continuous medium with no holes in it. Different energy streams shoot through the field like different fish swimming through water.
Some energies, like photons of light, will zip through the water unaffected and remain pure energies. Other energies, like a small, streamlined fish, will slow just a little and thus experience a small amount of drag. This drag is the same as resistance to the fish's movement. It creates a certain amount of rest in the momentum of the fish. In physics, the rest momentum of an object is the measure of its mass.
Still other energy streams will act like a whale. They will experience greater resistance and slow down even more. All the energy streams that experience resistance flowing through the Higgs field will slow to a greater or lesser degree. These energy streams of slowed momentum or vibration will become particles with different amounts of mass. The more the energy is slowed, the greater the mass. Some slowed-down energies become electrons that have smaller mass. Other energies, slowed to a greater extent, will become heavier top quarks with greater mass.
Get the picture? In the quantum world, arrested movement of energy or energetic vibration creates mass. It's slowed down to the point where it can be detected in a different form. In the Higgs field the movement or vibration of different energy streams is slowed. This lowered energy coagulates or crystallizes into particles that form the building blocks of matter. So, the Higgs field appears to be the transitional medium wherein energy begins its initial descent of solidifying to form matter as described by Einstein's formula E=Mc2.
From this point, other energies work to repel and attract the particles created in the Higgs field. At each step along the way the particles combine to form ever more stabilized structures creating atoms, molecules, and elements. Thus, the material world can be seen as the descent of energy into solidified form.
That physics and spirituality belong together as opposite sides of the same coin is amply demonstrated by the last sentence in the preceding paragraph—the material world can be seen as the descent of energy into solidified form.
This is the overriding premise of both classical mysticism and quantum physics. We could stop right here in demonstrating that science and spiritual mysticism are two rails of the same track leading to the Grand Central Station of Creation, but we won't. The parallels between quantum physics and ancient spiritual mysticism are just too elegant to go without mention. In particular the Gnostic gospels found in Egypt in 1945 represent a stunning statement about modern quantum physical theories seeking to define the creation and the true nature of reality.