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The Experimental Foundations of Particle Physics, Second Edition by Gerson Goldhaber, Robert N. Cahn

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12

From Neutral Currents to Weak Vector Bosons

The unification of weak and electromagnetic interactions, 1973–1987.

Fermi’s theory of weak interactions survived nearly unaltered over the years. Its basic structure was slightly modified by the addition of Gamow–Teller terms and finally by the determination of the V-A form, but its essence as a four fermion interaction remained. Fermi’s original insight was based on the analogy with electromagnetism; from the start it was clear that there might be vector particles transmitting the weak force the way the photon transmits the electromagnetic force. Since the weak interaction was of short range, the vector particle would have to be heavy, and since beta decay changed nuclear charge, the particle ...

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