Elementary particle-high energy physics, a historical account: 1950’s - TODAY
Prof Cesareo Dominguez
UCT Department of Physics
A historical account will be given of the development of Elementary Particle-High Energy Physics from the 1950’s to date. It will start from the formulation and successful implementation of Quantum Electrodynamics, followed by two decades of unsuccessful attempts to deal with the weak and the strong interaction. This period saw the birth and demise of several ideas, some of which, though, have survived the passage of time. The early 1970’s saw the successful formulation of the Electro-Weak theory, unifying the weak and the electromagnetic interactions, postulating a new particle recently discovered at the LHC at CERN. This was closely followed by the taming of the strong interaction, requiring the quarks to be real, rather than hypothetical particles, albeit permanently confined in hadrons under normal conditions, leading to Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). QCD is currently being exploited analytically (QCD sum rules) and numerically (Lattice QCD) to understand the data generated at CERN’s LHC and BNL’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. It is also used in Astrophysical applications, e.g. neutron stars and magnetars.
Some of the concepts on which (standard) practical applications of quantum field theory rely are conceptually incorrect, even if proven rather useful. This issue will be discussed to expose some well-established myths.
This talk will be accessible to 3rd year Physics students.
Duncan Elliot Seminar Room
RW James Building
021 650 3326