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Thread: The GUT

  1. #1 The GUT 
    Forum Professor leohopkins's Avatar
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    Okay, the grand unified theory. I know its got something to do with all 3 forces, but what actually is it ?


    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    GUT is pretty old physics, comparatively. It is the Unified field theory that unites all the forces except gravity. The Standard model does this also but in a more ad-hoc manner just gluing the three forces together in an single equation by adding terms for each of the different forces. GUT, however sees all three forces as different version of the same force. The idea is that at higher energies there really is only one force but at lower energies there is a spontaneous breaking of symetry between the different degrees of freedom so that the single force acts like three different forces instead of just one.

    Spontaneous symmetry breaking is kind of like the freezing of water into hexagonal crystals. At the higher temperatures the hexogonal nature of H20 is insignificant so it is only at lower temperatures that the full spherical symmetry of the water breaks down as "unstable". There is no reason for the water molecules to line up in a particular direction but in order to line up with each other they must line up in some direction so one alignment is kind of picked at random. If you look at ice microscopically you will see that it is made up of patches of crystals each lined up to a different random direction.

    The hope with GUT however is that this spontaneous symmetry breaking is not so random or is at least uniform so that the physical constants which determine the relative strengths of these three forces can be "predicted" (that is calculated rather than simply measured).


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