fundamental forces
http://plus.maths.org/content/taxonomy/term/656
enGoing with the flow — part II
http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-part-ii
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Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>In the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-0">first part of this article</a> we saw how statistical physics provided a way of zooming in and out of a system to examine it on many scales. Kadanoff's block spin method is an example of a powerful general idea called the <em>renormalisation group</em>. Ironically, this isn't actually a group in the usual, strict mathematical sense (you can read more about mathematical groups in <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/os/issue39/features/colva/index">The power of groups</a>).<p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-part-ii" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-part-ii#commentsasymptotic freedomfundamental forcesparticle physicsquantum electrodynamicsquantum field theoryrenormalisationstrong nuclear forceThu, 27 Mar 2014 17:48:54 +0000mf3446038 at http://plus.maths.org/contentGoing with the flow
http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-0
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Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>By the 1970s physicists had successfully tamed three of the fundamental forces using a sophisticated construct called quantum field theory. The trouble was that the framework seemed to fall apart when you looked at very high or very low energy scales. So how could these be thought of as valid theories? It's a question physicists are still grappling with today.</p>
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<p><em>In the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free">last article</a> we saw that asymptotic freedom allowed the strong force that binds nuclei together to be described by a quantum field theory. But the perturbative calculations only worked at high energies when the strong coupling constant becomes small. Similarly, it seemed that quantum electrodynamics, the theory that described the interaction of light and matter, only worked at sufficiently low energies. If they did not work at all energy scales, how could these be thought of as valid theories? What is a valid theory, anyway?<p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-0" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/going-flow-0#commentsasymptotic freedomfundamental forcesparticle physicsquantum electrodynamicsquantum field theoryrenormalisationstrong nuclear forceThu, 27 Mar 2014 17:25:51 +0000mf3446037 at http://plus.maths.org/contentStrong but free — part II
http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free-part-ii
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Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>As we saw in the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free">first part of this article</a>, the early 1950s were an experimental gold mine for particle physics, with new particles being discovered almost every week. What was missing, though, was a theory to describe the new discoveries. It took another decade and two Nobel Prizes before the particle zoo was finally tamed. </p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free-part-ii" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free-part-ii#commentsasymptotic freedomfundamental forcesparticle physicsquantum electrodynamicsquantum field theorystrong nuclear forceThu, 27 Mar 2014 16:58:13 +0000mf3446036 at http://plus.maths.org/contentStrong but free
http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free
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Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>The early 1950s were an experimental gold mine for physicists, with new particles produced in accelerators almost every week. Yet the strong nuclear force that acted between them defied theoretical description, sending physicists on a long and arduous journey that culminated in several Nobel prizes and the exotic concept of "asymptotic freedom".</p>
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<p>One day in the early 1950s two great physicists met in an office in Chicago. The first, <a href="http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Fermi.html">Enrico Fermi</a>, had conducted an unprecedented experiment observing the interaction of tiny particles that had only just been discovered. The second, <a href="http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Dyson.html">Freeman Dyson</a>, had found the theory that explained the observations. Having glanced at Dyson's results, Fermi put them down and said,"You know, there are two ways of doing theoretical physics.<p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/strong-free#commentsasymptotic freedomfundamental forcesparticle physicsquantum electrodynamicsquantum field theorystrong nuclear forceThu, 27 Mar 2014 09:35:53 +0000mf3446035 at http://plus.maths.org/contentSecret symmetry and the Higgs boson (Part II)
http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-ii
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Nicholas Mee </div>
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<p>In the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-i">first part</a> of this article we explored Landau's theory of phase transitions in materials such as magnets. We now go on to see how this theory formed the basis of the Higgs mechanism, which postulates the existence of the mysterious Higgs boson and explains how the particles that make up our Universe came to have mass.</p> </div>
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<p><em>In the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-i">first part</a> of this article we explored Landau's theory of phase transitions in materials such as magnets. We now go on to see how this theory formed the basis of the Higgs mechanism, which postulates the existence of the mysterious Higgs boson and explains how the particles that make up our Universe came to have mass.</em></p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-ii" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-ii#commentsmathematical realityelectromagnetismelementaryparticlefundamental forceshiggshiggs bosonHiggs fieldmagnetic fieldsymmetryTue, 03 Jul 2012 13:08:35 +0000mf3445652 at http://plus.maths.org/contentSecret symmetry and the Higgs boson (Part I)
http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-i
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Nicholas Mee </div>
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It's official: the notorious Higgs boson has been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The Higgs is a subatomic particle whose existence was predicted by theoretical physics. Also termed the <em>god particle</em>, the Higgs boson is said to have given other particles their mass. But how did it do that? In this two-part article we explore the so-called <em>Higgs mechanism</em>, starting with the humble bar magnet and ending with a dramatic transformation of the early Universe. </div>
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<p>It's official: the notorious Higgs boson has been discovered at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The Higgs is a subatomic particle whose existence was predicted by theoretical physics. Also termed the <em>god particle</em>, the Higgs boson is said to have given other particles their mass. But how did it do that? In this two-part article we explore the so-called <em>Higgs mechanism</em>, starting with the humble bar magnet and ending with a dramatic transformation of the early Universe.</p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-i" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/secret-symmetry-and-higgs-boson-part-i#commentsmathematical realityelectromagnetismelementaryparticlefundamental forceshiggshiggs bosonHiggs fieldmagnetic fieldsymmetryTue, 03 Jul 2012 13:07:35 +0000mf3445651 at http://plus.maths.org/contentBorn from broken symmetry
http://plus.maths.org/content/born-broken-symmetry
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The 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded. </div>
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<div class="pub_date">10/10/2008</div>
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<p>The <a href="http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/">2008 Nobel Prize in Physics</a> has been awarded to three men whose work has contributed significantly to our understanding of why we're here.<p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/born-broken-symmetry" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/born-broken-symmetry#commentsBig Bangelementaryparticlefundamental forceshiggshiggs bosonHiggs fieldNobel prizeparticle physicssymmetryThu, 09 Oct 2008 23:00:00 +0000plusadmin2459 at http://plus.maths.org/contentThe physics of elementary particles
http://plus.maths.org/content/physics-elementary-particles
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Peter Kalmus </div>
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It is extraordinary to think that the diversity of the world we live in is based on a handful of elementary particles and a few fundamental forces. <b>Peter Kalmus</b> describes the combination of experimental and theoretical physics that has brought us to the understanding of today. </div>
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<div class="rightimage" style="width: 250px;"><img src="http://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/packages/2013/QM/qmlogo_0.jpg" width="250" height="62" alt="QM logo"/></div><p><em>This article is part of the <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/researching-unknown">Researching the unknown project</a>, a collaboration with researchers from <a href="http://ph.qmul.ac.uk/">Queen Mary, University of London</a>, bringing you the latest research on the forefront of physics. Click <a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/researching-unknown">here</a> to read more articles from the project.</em></p><p><a href="http://plus.maths.org/content/physics-elementary-particles" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://plus.maths.org/content/physics-elementary-particles#comments29electromagnetismfundamental forcesquantum chromodynamicsquantum gravitystandard modelsuperstring theorysupersymmetrysymmetryMon, 01 Mar 2004 00:00:00 +0000plusadmin2244 at http://plus.maths.org/content