QR4.2 The Standard Model

The standard model of physics took over a century to build and summarizes:

… in a remarkably compact form, almost everything we know about the fundamental laws of physics.”(Wilczek, 2008) (p164)

It is currently considered by physicists to be:

“…truly the crowning scientific accomplishment of the twentieth century.(Oerter, 2006) p75.

The standard model considers all reality to consist of particles, which it divides into matter particles called fermions and force particles called bosons (Table 4.1). The difference essentially is that fermions collide with each other and bosons don’t. Physics currently attributes all forces to force particles and attributes all matter to matter particles.

Matter particles are divided into electron and neutrino leptons and up and down quarks, both of which  have unstable higher generation variants for some unknown reason. Up and down quarks then combine into the protons and neutrons of atomic nuclei that electrons orbit around, giving all the atoms of ordinary matter. Apart from neutrinos that whizz around for no reason and anti-matter that was expected but is nowhere to be found, it all seems fairly tidy but as Woit notes:

By 1973, physicists had in place what was to become a fantastically successful theory … that was soon to acquire the name of the ‘standard model’. Since that time, the overwhelming triumph of the standard model has been matched by a similarly overwhelming failure to find any way to make further progress on fundamental questions.(Woit, 2007) p1

Some fundamental questions the standard model doesn’t answer include:

  • Why don’t protons decay as neutrons do?
  • Why is our universe matter not anti-matter?
  • Why do neutrinos have a tiny but variable mass?
  • Why do leptons and quarks have three particle “generations” then no more?
  • Why do electrons “half spin”?
  • Why do particle masses vary enormously but charges don’t?
  • Why do neutrinos always have left-handed spin?
  • Why do quarks have one-third charges?
  • Why does the force binding quarks increase as they move apart?
  • What is the dark matter and dark energy that constitute most of the universe?

The issue isn’t that these questions are unanswered but that over fifty years has seen no progress in answering them. As the great hopes of string theory and super-symmetry led nowhere, the next fifty years look like being the same. This chapter answers these questions based on quantum processing not physical particles.