The Gauge Theoretic Breakthrough?
After several years of relative tranquility, Particle Physics is once again in a state of considerable agitation. The excitement centers around the subject of spontaneously broken gauge theories,1 a subject which has its origins in the seminal contributions of Weinberg,2 in 1967, and Salam,3 in 1968. These authors revived the old notion that weak interactions and electromagnetism have a common origin in a (nonabelian) gauge principle4 but made a break with the past in suggesting that the full gauge symmetry be broken spontaneously,5 a la Higgs and Kibble, to the level of electromagnetic gaugeinvariance. The hope was that the so-called Higgs mechanism would permit the theory to retain enough memory of the gauge group to stay renormalizable — in contrast to the situation in which one breaks the symmetry manifestly by explicit insertion of mass terms in the Lagrangian. This hope found fulfillment6 in the work of ‘t Hooft,’ t Hooft and Veltman, B. W. Lee and Lee and Zinn-Justin.
KeywordsGauge Theory Gauge Group Weak Interaction Vector Meson Goldstone Boson
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