The theory of the strong interactions on a space-time lattice

  • Date: 03/14/2008

Howard Trottier, SFU


University of British Columbia


Quantum Chromodynamics has been accepted as the theory of the strong
interactions for
more than thirty years, ever since the discovery of asymptotic freedom
by Gross,
Politzer and Wilczek, whose work was recognized with the 2004 Nobel
Prize. Despite
many successful quantitative predictions for high-energy processes,
applications of
QCD to strongly-coupled, low-energy hadronic physics, including such
basic quantities
as the proton mass, have historically been much less successful. A
space-time lattice
discretization of QCD (proposed by Ken Wilson the year after asymptotic
lends itself to direct numerical simulation, but the enormous
computational burden of
lattice QCD has, until recently, precluded accurate simulations of the
full theory.
Happily, dramatic improvements in the predictive power of lattice QCD
have occurred
in the past few years, due to major theoretical progress in our
understanding of
lattice quantum field theories. These developments are having a
significant impact,
including the use of lattice QCD to constrain the search for physics
beyond the
so-called standard model. This talk will give a conceptual review of the
theory of
QCD at high and low energies and the new developments in lattice QCD.