24 June 2011

No electroweak unification and no electroweak interaction

Why do so many people think that the electromagnetic and the weak interaction have been unified? They have not. The two interactions mix, because the W boson is charged. But they are not unified. The two interactions still have two unrelated coupling constants.

Yes, the coupling constants are related via the W and Z masses. But the argument remains: the two interactions are not unified in the standard model.

It is wrong to say that there is an "electroweak" interaction. There is no such thing. The mistake is found everywhere: in books, in textbooks, in Wikipedia, in the announcement of the Nobel committee, and in blogs.

19 June 2011

"Beyond the standard model" - really?

The expression "beyond the standard model" is so common that it even has a wikipedia entry (though a bad one) . But why is the expression so common?

"Beyond" is such a simple word. Most people thing that there "must" be something "beyond" what we know. But is that true? Are there speed values, for energy, beyond the speed of light?

"Beyond" implies that what we know is incomplete. But is that true? So far, the LHC is telling us otherwise. There are indeed things about the standard model that we do not understand. But there are no observations that contradict the standard model. Not one. So why do people dream of something beyond it?

"Beyond" often is taken to imply that there is, somewhere, some extension of the "standard model". Now this is really a heavy statement. Also for this prejudice there is no hint at all. Why should the standard model be contained in the final theory, or even only in a more general theory? Instead, Schiller proposes that the standard model is an approximation to the final theory, without being contained in the final theory. This idea alone is so radical that most theorists cringe.  We will see at the end of 2011 who is right.