News FocusParticle Physics

Symmetries and Forces

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Science  14 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6100, pp. 1288
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6100.1288

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Particle theory is a model of efficiency. The standard model focuses on quantum fields that describe the distribution of the various particles in the model, and physicists roll all those fields into a single mathematical function called the Lagrangian that encodes all possible particle interactions. The Lagrangian possesses certain mathematical symmetries called local gauge symmetries that determine the exact nature of the forces between particles.