Eating Goldstone bosons in a phase transition: A critical review of Lyre's analysis of the Higgs mechanism

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Wüthrich, Adrian
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In this note, I briefly review Lyre’s (2008) analysis and interpretation of the Higgs mechanism. Contrary to Lyre, I maintain that, on the proper understanding of the term, the Higgs mechanism refers to a physical process in the course of which gauge bosons acquire a mass. Since also Lyre’s worries about imaginary masses can be dismissed, a realistic interpretation of the Higgs mechanism seems viable. While it may remain an open empirical question whether the Higgs mechanism did actually occur in the early history of the universe and what the details of the mechanism are, I claim that the term can certainly refer to a physical process.