Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Unveiling the Higgs mechanism to students"?

This paper, while welcomed, is a bit "ambitious". I definitely think there is a need for an explanation of the physics surrounding the Higgs mechanism that is in a greater detail than a cartoonish description from a pop-science book/media but not as complicated as the actual physics that experts in that field have to deal with. This preprint is aiming its explanation at possibly college students, especially those who are physics undergraduates who should have had sufficient knowledge in classical E&M and a bit of QM.

Abstract: In this paper we give the outline of a lecture given to undergraduate students aiming at understanding why physicists are so much interested in the Higgs boson. The lecture has been conceived for students not yet familiar with advanced physics and is suitable for several disciplines, other than physics. The Higgs mechanism is introduced by semi-classical arguments mimicking the basic field theory concepts, assuming the validity of a symmetry principle in the expression of the energy of particles in a classical field. The lecture is divided in two parts: the first, suitable even to high--school students, shows how the mass of a particle results as a dynamical effect due to the interaction between a massless particle and a field (as in the Higgs mechanism). The audience of the second part, much more technical, consists mainly of teachers and university students of disciplines other than physics.

I'm not exactly sure how many "high-school students" would be able to understand the article, even the first part. In any case, I haven't read this closely enough to say if this is an accurate, or "good-enough" coverage of the topic, but I thought I should let you have a go at it and see what you think.

Zz.

2 comments:

informatica said...

well, I don't know if your undergraduate students in US can read this paper, but in Spain it could be difficult even for some sophomores...

Jacob Mazor said...

Actually, I am a high school student who read the paper and understood the first part.