Of Particular Significance

Two Major Steps Forward

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 09/13/2012

Apologies to those who’ve been asking questions: I’ve been away from the website for a few days (family matters) and have not been able to keep up with comments.  I will try to catch up over the coming day or two.

But I do have two pieces of good news.

First, I gave a public lecture over the weekend, on-line, called “The Quest for the Higgs”, which I believe many of my readers will find at the right level.  Because of some technical difficulties with the sound recording, I didn’t immediately recommend that you listen; but those problems are now fixed and the sound is pretty good.  The audio is to be found here at BlogTalkRadio, through the Virtually Speaking Science series; on that website, there’s a link to the slides accompanying the talk, or you can just click here to get them.  [Note the slides are under copyright; please ask permission before reproducing or using ideas you find therein.] 

Second, the long-awaited final article in the series on Particles and Fields (with a little math) has arrived.

  1. Ball on a Spring (Classical)
  2. Ball on a Spring (Quantum)
  3. Waves (Classical Form)
  4. Waves (Classical Equation of Motion)
  5. Waves (Quantum)
  6. Fields
  7. Particles are Quanta (new!)

As a bonus, you can then find out what the key technical difference is between bosons and fermions (the consequences of this difference are described, without technicalities, here.)

Next month: a series of articles on How the Higgs Field Works.

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9 Responses

  1. I’m not really on topic here, but ever since I read Penrose’s The Road to Reality I’ve wondered about his suggestion there that electroweak symmetry breaking creates its own horizon problem, one that isn’t resolved by the current inflationary universe model.

    Would the Higgs field as it’s currently understood have developed defects as the universe cooled below the critical temperature, and if so how could they have properly “unwound” across the whole of the presently observable universe if the outer edges of it haven’t been causally connected since before the end of the electroweak era?

    In looking through the relevant papers I’ve not been able to find any mention of the issue at all, save for one Powerpoint presentation that showed an intriguing mess of squiggly lines in a slide depicting the late stages of the Higgs field’s phase transition, unexplained in the accompanying text.

  2. Amazing work, bringing this level of science to the masses in this way is priceless and will no doubt inspire a new generation of great thinkers. You’ve certainly inspired me to bury my head in the quantum world again. My only problem – I’ve ran out of reading material! Apart from Brian Cox and Mr. Hawking can you recommend anyone else capable of this wonderful, yet understandable elaboration?

  3. Dear Prof. Strassler,

    thanks very much for uploading the slides, watching and reading them just made my evening :-).
    They are just beautiful, informative, and funny at times.
    I’m soooo jalous of people who were able to see this live, I hope they propperly appreciated it 😉


  4. Professor Strassler, I find these articles very valuable and I have learned a lot through them. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

  5. Your articles are the best stuff I’ve found on understanding the Higgs field. I’m trying to readjust my thinking again on what the stuff of the universe is made of. First I was taught everything is particles and waves. Then I learned everything is particles. Now I am learning everything is fields with waves in them.

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