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Electromagnetic Interactions and Particle Physics

Asim O. Barut
Year: 1994
Keywords: electromagnetic interactions, particle physics, electrons, photon, light, special theory of relativity
The foundations of physics must be continuosly re-examined. Not only the physical theories, but also the very basic notions and entities undergo changes. Physics is very subtle and is difficult to be completely axiomatized. It turns out that there are tacit assumptions, inprecise wordings, preconceived ideas or pictures that have been taken for granted. For example, there was a prejudice about the simultaneity of distant events which was removed by the special theory of relativity. In quantum theory, the notions of what we mean by electrons or light have undergone various paradigms, and there is still imprecision in the conceptualization of a single individual electron or "photon" which is necessary for an understanding of quantum theory. After the successes of quantumelectrodynamics, the general concensus is that we understand almost completely the interaction of the electrons, positrons and light, even though this theory is, as it stands, necessarily a perturbative approach. Therefore, phenomena which do not fit into this perturbative picture were accounted for by the introduction of new forces and new basic fundamental particles. It is our contention here to show that electrodynamic processes viewed nonperturbatively have a rich structure at short distances and may already unify these new phenomena of weak and strong interactions.