Particle physics

branch of physics

Particle physics (also high energy physics) is the branch of physics that studies the nature of the particles that constitute matter and radiation.


  • During the SSC debate, Anderson and other condensed-matter physicists repeatedly made the point that the knowledge gained in elementary-particle physics would be unlikely to help them to understand emergent phenomena like superconductivity. This is certainly true, but I think beside the point, because that is not why we are studying elementary particles; our aim is to push back the reductive frontier, to get closer to whatever simple and general theory accounts for everything in nature. ... experience shows that the ideas developed in one field can prove very useful in the other. Sometimes these ideas become transformed in translation, so that they even pick up a renewed value to the field in which they were first conceived. The example that concerns me is an idea that elementary-particle physicists learnt from condensed-matter theory – specifically from the BCS theory. It is the idea of spontaneous symmetry breaking.

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