Saturday, October 12, 2013

Higgs - rejection is good for you

Higgs at Atyah's 80th. Image courtesy
Wikipedia - std licence. 
Frantically busy so hardly been able to blog at all.

Great to see that Peter Higgs has got his Nobel. Also great that he emphasises that it;s the Brout Englert Higgs mechanism. What I didn't know was that his original paper was rejected by the referees and it was only in the revised version that he added the reference to a particle.  So if his paper hadn't been rejected he probably wouldn't have got a Nobel.

It's a beautiful, short paper. It begins:
In a recent note it was shown that the Goldstone theorem, that Lorentz-covariant field theories in which spontaneous breakdown of symmetry under an internal Lie group occurs contain zero-mass particles, fails if and only if the conserved currents associated with the internal group are coupled to gauge fields.

The "recent note" is "P.W. Higgs, to be published" Those were the days.  Goldstone taught me when I was an undergraduate - although I knew he was very bright we didn't appreciate what a Great Man he was. The key paper Higgs references is Goldstone, Salam and Weinberg. The last time I saw Goldstone was when I was for some reason in Trinity Library a few years after I left and he greeted me warmly with "and what are you doing here?" - but it turned out he'd mistaken me for someone else he's supervised.

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