nLab
Craig Roberts

Selected writings

Selected writings

On confinement and hadron-mass generation in QCD (mass gap problem):

More than 98% of visible mass is contained within nuclei. In first approximation, their atomic weights are simply the sum of the masses of all the neutrons and protons (nucleons) they contain. Each nucleon has a mass m N1m_N \sim 1 GeV, i.e. approximately 2000-times the electron mass. The Higgs boson produces the latter, but what produces the masses of the neutron and proton? This is the question posed above, which is pivotal to the development of modern physics: how can science explain the emergence of hadronic mass (EHM)? [][\cdots]

Modern science is thus encumbered with the fundamental problem of gluon and quark confinement; and confinement is crucial because it ensures absolute stability of the proton. [][\cdots] Without confinement,our Universe cannot exist.

As the 21st Century began, the Clay Mathematics Institute established seven Millennium Prize Problems [11]. Each represents one of the toughest challenges in mathematics. The set contains the problem of confinement; and presenting a sound solution will win its discoverer 1,000,000 bucks. Even with such motivation, today, almost fifty years after the discovery of quarks [12–14], no rigorous solution has been found. Confinement and EHM are inextricably linked. Consequently, as science plans for the next thirty years, solving the problem of EHM has become a grand challenge. [][\cdots]

In trying to match QCD with Nature, one confronts the many complexities of strong, nonlinear dynamics in relativistic quantum field theory, e.g. the loss of particle number conservation, the frame and scale dependence of the explanations and interpretations of observable processes, and the evolving character of the relevant degrees-of-freedom. Electroweak theory and phenomena are essentially perturbative; hence, possess little of this complexity. Science has never before encountered an interaction such as that at work in QCD. Understanding this interaction, explaining everything of which it is capable, can potentially change the way we look at the Universe.

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Last revised on March 6, 2021 at 11:16:20. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.