Werner Heisenberg (1962) - Progress in the unified field theory of elementary particles (German presentation)

Werner Heisenberg (1962)

Progress in the unified field theory of elementary particles (German presentation)

Werner Heisenberg (1962)

Progress in the unified field theory of elementary particles (German presentation)

Comment

The 1962 Lindau lecture by Werner Heisenberg is different to the lectures he gave in 1953, 1956 and 1959. Since Heisenberg was repeatedly reporting on the progress of his research work on a unified field theory of elementary particles, the content of each lecture is, of course, different. But I get the impression that his 1962 lecture is given more as a straightforward physics conference report than as a lecture for several hundred students and young researchers. Part of the difference is the way the lecture is delivered. Heisenberg speaks clearly but rapidly and even though he has some general equations already written on the blackboard, his lecture lasts more than an hour. I can only speculate on the reasons for this. One may be that he was feeling that his topic was becoming so hot that he couldn’t resist fencing off his own theory. In the same year, 1962, Murray Gell-Mann used his “Eightfold Way” to suggest the existence of a particle named omega-minus and the year after, in 1963, Sheldon Glashow suggested that the theory of the weak interaction could be unified with electromagnetism. For these suggestions, both physicists eventually received Nobel Prizes. It is quite clear that Heisenberg was aware of what is going on, with regards both to theory and experiments. Several times he mentions the “spurion”, which is connected to symmetry breaking in field theories, for instance. In today’s Standard Model, it corresponds to the Higgs particle. But instead of concentrating on one problem, he tries to formulate a theory encompassing many problems. In this he followed Albert Einstein, who spent a large part of his later life trying to unify his theory of general relativity with electromagnetism. This lead to quite a lot of interesting mathematics being produced, but none of the two Nobel Laureates reached their respective goals.

Anders Bárány

Rate this content

 (<5 ratings)

Cite


Specify width: px

Share

Rate this content

 (<5 ratings)

Cite


Specify width: px

Share


Related Content