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Mass of elementary particles

  1. Sep 9, 2008 #1
    The Science Channel is running an hour program on the LHC. They make a statement that the pages and pages of equations that describe BBT don't actually work because they don't explain how the elementary particles get their mass.

    How does this criticism get addressed or is it actually true?
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  3. Sep 9, 2008 #2


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    What is BBT ?
  4. Sep 9, 2008 #3
    What do you call BBT ? The standard model of elementary particle physics does explain how particles get their mass, what it does not explain is what makes the values of the mass what they are. Why would you expect a television channel to provide you with accurate scientific information ? Television aims at making audience, certainly not informing the public (which would be dangerous), or I am too cynical ?

    collision with Malawi
    On a second thought, maybe the OP refers to BarBecue Theory, which certainly does not explain the masses of particles.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  5. Sep 9, 2008 #4


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    Welcome to PhysicsForums, Force1!

    It would be completely misleading to say that Big Bang Theory is wrong ("equations ... don't work") because it does not answer every possible question about physics. There are plenty of open questions about the very early universe, and experiments are underway to answer these as best possible. There is no guarantee that answers will be found to all of these questions. It's not like we can actually re-create those early conditions in the laboratory. The LHC gets us closer, but in terms of the very early universe (10^-43 seconds) it is a far cry away.

    If I recall what they are saying in that particular show, they indicate that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity breaks down at that point in the very early universe. This is a true statement, and has little or nothing to do with Big Bang Theory itself. The Big Bang was an initial event and the current theory describes the evolution of the universe subsequent to the Big Bang in many particulars. The theory does NOT attempt to explain the reason for the initial event itself. It is hoped that future science might someday go there (i.e. new theory and experimental evidence to indicate the cause of the BB) but that is speculative.

    As to elementary particle masses, I think the observation of the Higgs might answer a lot of open questions regarding the Standard Model. This is an exciting time in physics, and there is a lot of great research going on.
  6. Sep 9, 2008 #5
    Thank you Doctor, but I was talking about Bar-B-Q theory.

    No, just kidding. Thank you; you are a gentleman.
  7. Sep 10, 2008 #6
    OK, so we are looking to the LHC to explain what makes the values of the mass what they are. If they confirm the Higgs mechanism by finding the decay of the Higgs boson will that mean that the equations that describe the mass of the elementary particles will be complete or at least can then be completed to give the correct values?
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