The idea that the weak interaction is mediated by very heavy exchange bosons was generally accepted long before they were discovered. The structure of the Fermi theory of β-decay implies that the interaction is point-like, which in turn implies that the exchange bosons have to be very heavy particles. Quantitatively, however, this was confirmed only when the W and the Z bosons were detected experimentally [Ar83, Ba83a] and their properties could be measured. The Z0 boson’s properties imply a mixing of the electromagnetic and weak interactions. The electroweak unification theory due to Glashow, Salam and Weinberg from the early seventies was thus confirmed. Today it is the basis of the standard model of elementary particle physics.
KeywordsHiggs Boson Charged Lepton Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking Light Neutrino Higgs Field
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