Manual Fundamental forces of nature : the story of gauge fields

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  1. Fundamental Forces Of Nature
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The details are a bit more complicated for the carriers of the strong force, but the principles involved are quite similar. There are, in fact, eight gluons because the strong interactions, instead of being invariant under U 1 em transformations, are invariant under an SU 3 symmetry group of transformations, which requires more than one parameter. To be invariant under SU 3 symmetry transformations, eight separate force carriers, one for each independent parameter of the SU 3 group of transformations, are needed.

Finally, the gravitational force is more akin to electromagnetism with only one carrier of the gravitational force, called the graviton. At its most basic level, matter appears to be composed of two kinds of excitations: quarks and leptons. Quarks feel all four forces, whereas leptons of which the electron and the electron neutrino are examples are not subject to the strong force.

The interactions giving rise to the strong force must respect the SU 3 group of transformations, since this is the symmetry of the theory. The resulting theory, known as quantum chromodynamics QCD , is a generalization of quantum electrodynamics in which the electron-positron electromagnetic current couples to the photon.

The weak force is more complex. First, the weak bosons couple asymmetrically to matter states, depending on their polarization. Thus, for example, only the left-handed component of electrons and electron neutrinos couples to the SU 2 force-carrying particles.

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Second, only the electromagnetic piece of the electroweak force is associated with a massless excitation the photon and gives rise to long-range forces. Hence, weak interactions are very short-range.

Fundamental Forces Of Nature

This is the reason why, at first, there did not seem to be any connection between the weak forces and electromagnetism. If in nature, indeed, a grand unified theory does exist, it may well be that the distinction between the strong and electroweak forces, so apparent now, may also, in fact, disappear at superhigh energies.

The particles associated with the strong and electroweak forces all carry spin 1, whereas the graviton has spin 2. In the static limit, it is easy to show that the exchange of a spin-2 particle gives rise to an attractive force, while spin-1 exchange leads to a repulsive force. Since gravitons couple to mass, and this is always positive, one understands why gravity is attractive.


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In contrast, photon exchange is only attractive among charges of opposite sign but is repulsive for charges of the same sign. Because the gluons and the weak bosons carry a non-Abelian charge, the channels that are attractive or repulsive will depend in detail on the group structure of the matter states.

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So, in effect, for gluons and weak bosons the distinction between matter states and force-carrying particles blurs, since these states both carry and feel the forces. Perhaps the most far-reaching and important feature of the basic interactions is that their form is fixed purely by symmetry considerations. As discussed, the theories that describe these interactions are invariant under a group of symmetry transformations.

Paperback or Softback. Seller Inventory BBS Kerson Huang. Publisher: Wspc , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Gauge fields are the messengers carrying signals between elementary particles, enabling them to interact with each other. Review : The book delivers what it implicitly promises: an instructive and thoughtful tour of 20th century physics, with special emphasis on the theory of the fundamental constituents of matter and forces among them.

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