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Investigating regge poles at MIT


Working with Goldberger and Low at MIT
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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In January 1963 I started a half academic year in Cambridge, Massachusetts at MIT, and I was being offered a position at… either at MIT or at Harvard or at a mixture of the two. And I was very seriously considering taking it. Murph Goldberger was there on leave also, and Francis Low was there because he was a professor at MIT. And the three of us worked together on some very laborious calculations, which were however interesting - and we drew in a couple of other people. We drew in Fred Zachariasen and a couple of post-docs from Caltech, and so on, into some of the detailed calculations. But the idea had to do with… again with some of Geoffrey Chew's principles–dog… dogmata, whatever you want to call them! He had the idea that the particles in quantum field theory were fixed angular momentum poles, and that the particles in hadron bootstrap theory would be moveable poles on Regge trajectories, accompanied poles accompanied by cuts of course in the angular… complex angular momentum plane. And I didn't see any particular reason for this dogma to hold, and what we noticed was that in quantum field theory, with vector bosons--a form of quantum electrodynamics for example with massive photons, something of that kind–the fixed pole in the angular momentum plane for the electron, say, actually moved when you included higher order radiative corrections.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019) was known for his creation of the eightfold way, an ordering system for subatomic particles, comparable to the periodic table. His discovery of the omega-minus particle filled a gap in the system, brought the theory wide acceptance and led to Gell-Mann's winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969.

Listeners: Geoffrey West

Geoffrey West is a Staff Member, Fellow, and Program Manager for High Energy Physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is also a member of The Santa Fe Institute. He is a native of England and was educated at Cambridge University (B.A. 1961). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1966 followed by post-doctoral appointments at Cornell and Harvard Universities. He returned to Stanford as a faculty member in 1970. He left to build and lead the Theoretical High Energy Physics Group at Los Alamos. He has numerous scientific publications including the editing of three books. His primary interest has been in fundamental questions in Physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles and their interactions. His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena grew out of his work on scaling in quantum chromodynamics and the unification of all forces of nature. In 1996 this evolved into the highly productive collaboration with James Brown and Brian Enquist on the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology and the development of realistic quantitative models that analyse the influence of size on the structural and functional design of organisms.

Tags: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technolog, Marvin Goldberger, Francis Low, Fredrik Zachariasen, Geoffrey Chew

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008