Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


In this thesis, we focus on some problems of symmetry breaking in unified weak-electromagnetic gauge theories. In Chapter I we set the scene with a brief history of weak interaction theory up until the impasse which led to the development of the unified weak-electromagnetic gauge theory strategy. In Chapter 2 we describe the basic ideas underlying the new gauge strategy, illustrate how these ideas can be concretized in a specific model and discuss some of the prospects and problems which remain to be solved. In Chapters 3 and 4 we make a small contribution towards some of the problems which arise in applying the gauge strategy. We focus in particular on the role of the Higgs scalars in the spontaneous breakdown of the theory. In Chapter 3, we consider the following question: how can we break the gauge symmetry in such a way that all of the weak vector mesons acquire mass but the photon remains massless? In Chapter 4, in the context of a specific model, we study the effects on calculable quantities, such as the proton-neutron mass difference, of varying the Higgs content and investigate the appearance of pions as part of the Higgs system.


A thesis submitted to the Faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

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