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A Zeptospace Odyssey: A Journey into the Physics of the LHC$
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Gian Francesco Giudice

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199581917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581917.001.0001

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Breaking Symmetries

Breaking Symmetries

(p.145) 8 Breaking Symmetries
A Zeptospace Odyssey: A Journey into the Physics of the LHC

Gian Francesco Giudice

Oxford University Press

Symmetries play a fundamental role in modern physics. This chapter introduces this concept by discussing the meaning of symmetries in mathematics and in physics, explaining the significance of Lie groups. With the help of some analogies, the principle of gauge symmetry is illustrated. This principle is the basis for the construction of the Standard Model and determines the structure of the fundamental forces. However, the masses of the W and Z particles are in conflict with the gauge principle. The solution to this problem requires the introduction of new concepts such as spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Higgs mechanism. The chapter also describes the experimental strategies in the search for the Higgs boson, the significance of the possible discovery of this particle, and the remaining open problems.

Keywords:   symmetry, Lie groups, gauge symmetry, electroweak symmetry breaking, spontaneous symmetry breaking, Higgs mechanism, Higgs boson, vacuum

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