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In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks by Gerard 't Hooft

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10 The Yang–Mills bonanza

We must now go back to 1954, to a time when the big successes of the theory for the electromagnetic forces between the particles were still fresh. Not yet discouraged by the discoveries of numerous particle species that were yet to come, scientists were still searching for simple, elegant and universal principles in physics.

All aspects of the electromagnetic forces between particles can be deduced from the equations that are obeyed by the electric and the magnetic fields. These fields are vector fields. A ‘vector’ is a quantity that is not only characterized by its strength but also by its direction, and several numbers (typically three) are needed its description. ‘Field’ means that these numbers may have different ...

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