The lull circle

The story of light has turned full circle. We started with light as a communicator, enabling us to see, to get information from the rest of the universe, to investigate the distant past. We discussed the central part played by light in the basic theories of quantum mechanics and relativity, and finally, its role as the communicator of the electric force which is responsible for the

Table 17.1 The heavy photons predicted by the Weinberg-Glashow-Salam model.

Name

Predicted mass (GeV/c2)

Observed mass (GeV/c2)

82 ± 2.4

80.9 ± 1.5

Z0

94 ± 2.5

95.6 ± 1.4

Mass of proton in energy units = 0.938 GeV/c2.

Mass of proton in energy units = 0.938 GeV/c2.

chemistry of atoms and molecules. Ingenious application of these electromagnetic forces has made it possible to build accelerators and detectors which probe even further into the nuclear forces and constituents. Here we have seen another form of light, acting as the communicator of the weak nuclear force.

We can hardly do better than to conclude by presenting a portion of Salaam's acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony in 1979. He famously quoted the following verses from Al-Quran (Sura Al-Mulk, 3&4):

Thou seest not, in the creation of the

All-merciful any imperfection, Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure. Then Return thy gaze, again and again. Thy gaze, Comes back to thee dazzled, aweary.

He then proceeded to say: 'This in effect is the faith of all physicists; the deeper we seek, the more is our wonder excited, the more is the daz-zlement for our gaze.'

Abdus Salaam (1926-1996). Courtesy of the Pakistan Academy of Science.

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