Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking as a Basis of Particle Mass

As one can imagine, many of my friends have been asking a lot of questions about the LHC. Certainly the question about the "catastrophic black hole" came up, but I think most of them already kinda guessed that this isn't going to happen. But what they are most interested in, luckily, is what the LHC is supposed to be looking for. The conversation certainly got around to a discussion of the "Higgs" particle.

As someone who considers himself to have an "interactional expertise" in this area, I tried to give as accurate of an answer as I can to an audience that are not knowledgeable in physics. Still, it isn't easy to try and describe what is essentially the search for "symmetry breaking in the weak interaction".

In any case, for anyone wanting a deeper explanation of this, especially on the issue of the origin of mass, especially for the W and Z, there is a very good review by Chris Quigg of Fermilab that was published a year ago (C. Quigg, Rep. Prog. Phys. v.70, p.1019 (2007) or you can get the arXiv version of it here). It gives a very good overview on what many are looking for when the LHC starts its optimum collision.


No comments: