Broken Symmetries - Nobel Prize in Physics 2008

Fred Jegerlehner (Humboldt Universität, Berlin)
DESY auditorium, 17:00h

Concerning the first part of the 2008 Nobel Prize: in 1960 Nambu, inspired by the recent success of BCS theory, developed a deep conviction that the existing puzzles of the properties of hadrons (nucleons and pions) at low energy could be resolved by mechanisms in close analogy to the ones relevant in superconductivity. Thereby Nambu rejuvenated fundamental physics and relativistic quantum field theory by introducing a non-empty vacuum, spontaneous symmetry breaking and the Nambu–Goldstone bosons among others. I try to trace back the exciting story and put Nambu's original ideas into perspective to our present day picture of low energy strong interaction physics.
The second part of the 2008 Nobel Prize honors the successful prediction of the pattern of CP violation by the minimal 3 family flavor structure as it is incorporated in the SM. Predicted in 1973, when not even all 2nd family fermions were known (charm was missing), Kobayashi and Maskawa noticed that there was no natural way to incorporate CP violation with less than 3 families in the SM (just emerging at that time). The 3 family SM they proposed lead to a clear cut prediction of what was precisely observed about 30 years later at the B factories and is the basis of the dramatic progress in "unitarity triangle physics".
Both symmetry breaking patterns today are fundamental ingredients of the SM, and play a key role in understanding experimentally established physics.

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