Deep down things : the breathtaking beauty of particle physics


Deep down things : the breathtaking beauty of particle physics

Bruce A. Schumm

Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004

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Includes bibliographical references and index



A useful scientific theory, claimed Einstein, must be explicable to any intelligent person. In Deep Down Things, experimental particle physicist Bruce Schumm has taken this dictum to heart, providing in clear, straightforward prose an elucidation of the Standard Model of particle physics-a theory that stands as one of the crowning achievements of twentieth-century science. In this one-of-a-kind book, the work of many of the past century's most notable physicists, including Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Dirac, Feynman, Gell-Mann, and Weinberg, is knit together in a thorough and accessible exposition of the revolutionary notions that underlie our current view of the fundamental nature of the physical world. Schumm, who has spent much of his life emmersed in the subatomic world, goes far beyond a mere presentation of the "building blocks" of matter, bringing to life the remarkable connection between the ivory tower world of the abstract mathematician and the day-to-day, life-enabling properties of the natural world. Schumm leaves us with an insight into the profound open questions of particle physics, setting the stage for understanding the progress the field is poised to make over the next decade or two. Introducing readers to the world of particle physics, Deep Down Things opens new realms within which are many clues to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.


Preface 1. Introduction 2. The True Movers & Shakers: The Forces of Nature 3. The Great Reawakening: The Modern Physics Revolution 4. The Marriage of Relativity & Quantum Theory: Relativistic Quantum Field Theory 5. Patterns in Nature: The Fundamental Building Blocks 6. Mathematical Patterns: Lie Groups 7. The World Within: Internal Symmetries 8. Physics by Pure Thought: Gauge Theory 9. The Current Paradigm: Hidden Symmetry, the Standard Model & the Higgs Boson 10. Into the Unknown: What Lies Ahead Appendix: Exponential Notation Notes Index

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