Thursday, July 09, 2009

Unanswered Questions in the Electroweak Theory

Unanswered Questions in the Electroweak Theory by Chris Quigg
For all its triumphs, the electroweak theory has many shortcomings. It does not make specific predictions for the masses of the quarks and leptons or for the mixing among different flavors. It leaves unexplained how the Higgs boson mass could remain below 1 TeV in the face of quantum corrections that tend to lift it toward the Planck scale or a unification scale. The Higgs field that must pervade all of space to hide the electroweak symmetry contributes a vacuum energy density far in excess of what is observed. And the electroweak theory responds inadequately to challenges raised by astronomical observations, including the dark-matter problem and the baryon asymmetry of the Universe. These shortcomings argue for physics beyond the standard model; some possibilities are recalled.

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