Class #19 (Mar. 20) Reading Questions - The Fabric of the Cosmos


Chapter 9


1. What is the relationship between phase transitions and symmetry?


2. What is a Higgs field and how does Greene use a jumping frog to represent the behavior of this type of field in a cooling universe?


3. What is the Higgs ocean and how does the presence of this ocean explain the origin of mass for elementary particles?


4. In what way is the formation of the Higgs ocean similar to a phase transition?



Chapter 10


5. Explain what is meant by "negative gravity" and describe how this repulsive force is realized in Einstein's theory of general relativity.


6. Guth postulated another "Higgs type field" which produces a very brief inflationary expansion of the universe.  Explain Greene's jumping frog description of how inflation can be caused by a "supercooled" Higg's field.


7. What does Greene mean by an "inflationary framework" and what big problems are solved by this approach to cosmology?




Your Question:  Please give a well formulated question that you have regarding the material covered in this reading assignment.