Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Triumph of the Standard Model

The discovery of the massive top quark at Fermilab in 1994 spectacularly confirmed the predictions of the Standard Model

John Ellis
The fundamental particle interactions described by the Standard Model are the electromagnetic, weak and strong nuclear forces. It has been known from the early days of quantum physics that the electromagnetic forces between one charged particle and another are mediated by the exchange of the massless photon. Electromagnetic interactions are well described by the long-established quantum theory of electrodynamics, called QED. Meanwhile the strong nuclear interactions are described by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), and are mediated by massless bosons, called gluons. These were discovered at the DESY laboratory in Germany in 1979.

Without some acknowledgement of where we see these events significant in the early universe, it will not make much sense to anyone, if they do not recognize the microcosmic view, is very relevant to how we see the beginning of the universe?

May the strong force be with you

Particle physicists were delighted a few months ago when the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to David Gross, David Politzer and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom, which enabled QCD to emerge as the underlying theory of the strong interactions. Since their papers were published in 1973, and the experimental evidence for QCD has been overwhelming for a couple of decades, their prize seems a tad overdue.

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