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.
Volume 26 | Issue 10