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Is GUT an effort to unify the underlying fields?

  1. Mar 14, 2012 #1
    i understand GUT to be an effort to unify the 3 (4) basic forces - gravity, EM and electro-weak, and strong. however, i also read that the standard model is not actually a theory of particles - it is a field theory, in that particles are accepted as manifestations of fields, rather than actual "things" - is this correct?.

    so, is GUT actually an effort to unify the basic fields found in the universe, rahter than an effort to unify the forces which result from the fields? if so, how would one fit in such other potential fields such as the higgs field? (i dont actually see a place in the standard model for a higgs field - where does it fit? is is another type of force?)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2012 #2
    Electromagnetism and weak force have already been unified (this brings about the Higgs mechanism and is included in the standard model). The mathematical description of standard model is indeed what is known as quantum field theory, describing particles (both matter and force carriers) as excitations of fields.

    What's the difference?

    The standard model does not explain the fields it contains. It's just a theoretical construction that seems to describe everything we see around us - it does not predict for example the number of quarks or their masses, these are all just experimentally verified "facts of life".

    The Higgs field is what causes electromagnetism and weak force to be different - it gives masses to the weak force carriers, while photon remains massless. There is no mathematically consistent way of combining these two forces into one, while still explaining why they are so different without Higgs or something very close to it. That's why it's added to the ingredient list, even though no one has actually seen one yet.

    Can you explain what you mean by "room"? Why would there not be room for new particles?
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