• The Added Mass Effect and the Higgs Mechanism: How Accelerated Bodies and Elementary Particles Can Gain Inertia

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    • Keywords


      Added mass effect, virtual inertia, fluid mechanics, potential flow, Higgs mechanism, particle physics, spontaneous symmetry breaking, masses of elementary particles, Higgs particle.

    • Abstract


      A rigid body accelerated through a frictionless fluid appearsto gain mass. Swimmers, air bubbles, submarines and airshipsare slowed down by the associated ‘added mass’ forcewhich is distinct from viscous drag and buoyancy. In particlephysics, an otherwise massless electron, quark, W or Z boson,moving through the Higgs field acquires a mass. In thisarticle, we introduce the fluid mechanical added mass effectthrough examples and use its analogy with the Higgs mechanismto intuitively explain how the carriers of the weak force(W and Z bosons) get their masses while leaving the photonmassless.

    • Author Affiliations


      Govind S Krishnaswami1 Sachin Phatak1

      1. Chennai Mathematical Institute H1, SIPCOT IT Park Kelambakkam, Siruseri Tamil Nadu 603 103, India.
    • Dates


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