For today’s post, I’ve added a bit more information to the article that I’m gradually writing on “naturalness”. So far, in that article and an accompanying one, I have
- explained what “naturalness” means in this context;
- given you a first glimpse of what people mean when they say “the Standard Model appears unnatural”;
- tried to clarify, in a side article, what quantum fluctuations of quantum fields are, and how these fluctuations contribute lots of energy to ordinary, empty space — creating a naturalness puzzle called the “cosmological constant problem’‘.
And now the next installment of the article on Naturalness and the Standard Model provides additional knowledge that you’ll need, if you want to understand the argument that suggests the Standard Model (the highly successful equations used to predict the behavior of the known particles and forces) is an apparently unnatural (i.e., highly atypical) theory.
Specifically, the new section of the article explains how the Higgs field’s average value, and the Higgs particle’s mass, are determined (as for any similar field) by how the energy of empty space — to which the above-mentioned quantum fluctuations are a crucial contributor — depends on the Higgs field itself.
Yes, this is a long story — but so central to current “conventional wisdom” about the universe that we’d better go through it carefully. By the next installment, we should be getting to the heart of the matter.