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Gauge invariant accounts of the Higgs mechanism

Struyve, Ward (2011) Gauge invariant accounts of the Higgs mechanism. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    The Higgs mechanism gives mass to Yang-Mills gauge bosons. According to the conventional wisdom, this happens through the spontaneous breaking of gauge symmetry. Yet, gauge symmetries merely reflect a redundancy in the state description and therefore the spontaneous breaking can not be an essential ingredient. Indeed, as already shown by Higgs and Kibble, the mechanism can be explained in terms of gauge invariant variables, without invoking spontaneous symmetry breaking. In this paper, we present a general discussion of such gauge invariant treatments for the case of the Abelian Higgs model, in the context of classical field theory. We thereby distinguish between two different notions of gauge: one that takes all local transformations to be gauge and one that relates gauge to a failure of determinism.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
    Keywords: Yang-Mills theories, gauge symmetry, spontaneous symmetry breaking, Higgs mechanism
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Fields and Particles
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
    Depositing User: dr ward struyve
    Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2011 11:11
    Last Modified: 21 Jul 2011 11:11
    Item ID: 8729
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/8729

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