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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Experimental Particle Physics

Symmetry Breaking

Symmetries are the key to describe fundamental forces in nature.  However, some symmetries are broken in nature providing an enormous creative potential.  A well-known example is the breaking of the matter-antimatter symmetry, also called the CP violation, which is responsible for the existence of our world.  Decay processes of particles have a slight preference for matter, violating the symmetry of the fundamental forces under the exchange of matter and antimatter. 

Also the phenomena of mass can be understood in the context of symmetry breaking.  Describing the fundamental forces, based on symmetry principles, requires the exchange particles to be massless.  However, experiments show that the exchange particle of the weak interaction possesses a mass which is about one hundred times larger than the proton mass.   This is another example for a symmetry breaking making the presence of an additional field, of the Higgs field, neccessary.


Forces | Strong Force | Weak Force | Symmetry | Symmetry Breaking