Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Elementary Physics

I post to you today, verbatim and in its entirety, an email I received from a fellow history Ph.D. I tell you, brothers and sisters, it's stimulating sometimes to carry on conversation with such people. Here's the whole email:

As you all know:
. . . we have a standard model of elementary particles. Its ingredients are quantum fields, and the various elementary particles that are the quanta of those fields: the photon, W+, W-, and Z0 particles, eight gluons, six types of quarks, the electron and two types of similar particles, and three kinds of nearly massless particles called neutrinos. The equations of this theory are not arbitrary; they are tightly constrained by various symmetry principles and by the condition of cancellation of infinities.
Well, at least in my case, it helped a lot to read the article:
 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/nov/07/physics-what-we-do-and-dont-know/

I read the article too, and I have to say, I agree. And for those of you who want to be picky: you're right, the illustration does not match the quotation. So sue me.
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