Open Questions: Glossary of Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology

Angular momentum
Axion
Baryon
Bose condensation
Boson
A particle whose spin quantum number is an integer. Bosons are usually associated with forces in a Yang-Mills field theory.
Charge conjugation symmetry
Chargino
Chirality
A property of "handedness" which may be possessed by physical entities in which parity (mirror image) symmetry is nor perfectly observed. For instance, the weak force is said to be chiral because it has different effects on instances of the same particle having opposite spin.
Effective theory
Electroweak theory
Fermion
A particle whose spin quantum number is half of an (odd) integer. Matter particles are fermions, and they obey the Pauli exclusion principle.
Feynman diagram
Field
A mathematical construct in which a mathematical entity, such as a number or a vector, is associated with each point in space. A field is often used to represent a force, such as electromagnetic or gravitational force, but fields can also be associated with particles.
Gauge field
A type of field which arises as a result of a requirement for preserving local gauge symmetry in a Yang-Mills field theory.
Gauge symmetry
A type of symmetry operation which can be applied "locally" at any point in space.
Gluon
Goldstone boson
Gravitino
Graviton
Hadron
Helicity
Hierarchy problem
Higgs field
A field (or more likely, a number of fields) postulated to account for spontaneous symmetry breaking in the standard model. Particles in the standard model acquire mass from interaction with a Higgs field.
Higgs boson
A hypothetical (and much sought after) particle, with spin 0, that corresponds to a Higgs field.
Lepton
Lie algebra
Lie superalgebra
Lorentz transformation
Meson
Neutralino
Neutrino
Neutron
Noether's theorem
Parity
Pauli exclusion principle
Perturbation theory
Planck's constant
Planck energy
Planck length
Planck mass
Planck time
Poincaré group
Preon
Quantum chromodynamics
Quantum electrodynamics
Quantum field theory
Quark
Renormalization
Rishon
Spin
A quantum mechanical property of particles (and fields) which is roughly analogous to angular momentum in classical mechanics.
Spontaneous symmetry breaking
Standard model
Strong force
Supergravity
Supersymmetry
A postulated (but unverified) symmetry of nature in which there is a fermion which corresponds to every boson, and vice versa.
Symmetry operation
A transformation that can be applied to a physical system, or an equation describing a physical system, that leaves the system or equation unchanged. Geometrical operations such as translation and rotation are examples.
Technicolor force
Vacuum energy
Vacuum polarization
Weak force
Yang-Mills field theory
A specific type of quantum field theory in which the field arises out of a requirement to allow the application of a local symmetry operation at every point in space.

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Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved