Thursday, June 20, 2013

1306.4061 (Roland E. Allen)

The London-Anderson-Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble-Weinberg
mechanism and Higgs boson reveal the unity and future excitement of physics

Roland E. Allen
The particle recently discovered by the CMS and ATLAS collaborations at CERN is almost certainly a Higgs boson, fulfilling a quest that can be traced back to three seminal high energy papers of 1964, but which is intimately connected to ideas in other areas of physics that go back much further. One might oversimplify the history of the features which (i) give mass to the W and Z particles that mediate the weak nuclear interaction, (ii) effectively break gauge invariance, (iii) eliminate physically unacceptable Nambu-Goldstone bosons, and (iv) give mass to fermions (like the electron) by collectively calling them the London-Anderson-Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble-Weinberg mechanism. More important are the implications for the future: a Higgs boson appears to point toward supersymmetry, since new physics is required to protect its mass from enormous quantum corrections, while the discovery of neutrino masses seems to point toward grand unification of the nongravitational forces.
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