Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Baryons and the Borromeo

Craig Roberts (ANL)

The kernels in the tangible matter of our everyday experience are composed of light quarks. At least, they are light classically; but they don't remain light. Dynamical effects - novel forces - within the Standard Model of Particle Physics change the light quarks in remarkable ways, so that in some configurations they appear nearly massless but in others possess masses on the scale of light nuclei. Modern experiment and theory are exposing the mechanisms responsible for these remarkable transformations. The prize is $1-million, if the emerging sketches can be combined into an accurate picture of confinement, the eternal imprisonment of quarks, which is such a singular feature of the Standard Model. Looming larger amongst the emerging ideas is a perspective that leads to a Borromean picture of the proton and its excited states; and along with this view comes a marked change in how one might understand the Standard Model's ground-state or "vacuum".