Physics Colloquium

"The DNA of Particle Scattering"

Presented by Prof. Lance Dixon, SLAC

Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 3:30 pm — Large Seminar Room, Bldg. 510

Please note that self-served coffee and cookies will be in the seminar lounge at 3:00 pm. Abstract: Scattering amplitudes are where quantum field theory meets particle experiment, especially at the Large Hadron Collider where the copious scattering of quarks and gluons in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) produces Higgs bosons and many backgrounds to searches for new physics. Particle scattering in QCD and other gauge theories is far simpler than standard perturbative approaches would suggest. Modern approaches based on unitarity and bootstrapping dramatically simplify many computations previously done with Feynman diagrams. Even so, the final results are often highly intricate, multivariate mathematical functions, which are difficult to describe, let alone compute. In many cases, the functions have a "genetic code" underlying them, called the symbol, which reveals much of their structure. The symbol is a linear combination of words, sequences of letters analogous to sequences of DNA base pairs. Understanding the alphabet, and then reading the code, exposes the physics and mathematics underlying the scattering process, including new symmetries. For example, the two scattering amplitudes that are known to the highest orders in perturbation theory (8 loops) are related to each other by a mysterious antipodal duality, which involves reading the code backwards as well as forwards. A third scattering amplitude, which contains both of these as limits, has an antipodal self-duality which "explains" the other duality. However, we still don't know `who ordered' this property, or what it really means.

Hosted by: Raju Venugopalan

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