Speculation is rife that by 2012 the elusive Higgs boson will be found at the Large Hadron Collider. If found, the Higgs boson would help explain why everything has mass. But there’s more at stakewhat we’re really testing is our capacity to make the universe reasonable.
Our best understanding of physics is predicated on something known as quantum field theory. Unfortunately, in its raw form, it doesn’t make senseits outputs are physically impossible infinite percentages when they should be something simpler, like the number 1. The kind of physics that the Higgs boson represents seeks to renormalize” field theory, forcing equations to provide answers that match what we see in the real world.
The Infinity Puzzle is the story of a wild idea on the road to acceptance. Only Close can tell it.
Reviews for Infinity Puzzle : Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for a...
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The main title alludes to renormalization, the mathematical trick used to eliminate calculational divergences in quantum electrodynamics, the theory of electroweak unification (Higgs mechanism, massive bosons), etc. The book is a long and detailed, popular-level, personality-oriented history, complete with false starts and dead ends, including quite a few of the lesser-known (to me at least) contributing physicists. Its heart is the electroweak story but, with the development of quantum chromodynamics (strong-force theory -- quarks and gluons) also being traced, it ends up having covered the whole Standard Model. Not a quick read, but a very good one.read more
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