Monday, November 18, 2013

Anderson-Higgs Mechanism

Peter Woit has a nice write up on Philip Anderson's upcoming 90th birthday celebration, Anderson's role in the discovery of the mechanism named after Higgs, the great fight over the Super Conducting Super Collider and other things. He has some of those nice human details I wish he would write about more often.

Including this from Steve Weinberg:

For Weinberg’s point of view on this, see here, where he writes:

The claim of elementary-particle physicists to be leading the exploration of the reductionist frontier has at times produced resentment among condensed-matter physicists. (This was not helped by a distinguished particle theorist, who was fond of referring to condensed-matter physics as “squalid state physics”.) This resentment surfaced during the debate over the funding of the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC). I remember that Phil Anderson and I testified in the same Senate committee hearing on the issue, he against the SSC and I for it. His testimony was so scrupulously honest that I think it helped the SSC more than it hurt it. What really did hurt was a statement opposing the SSC by a condensed-matter physicist who happened at the time to be the president of the American Physical Society.

The first unnamed villain is probably the greatest living physicist.