RARE FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS AND IN ENGLISH OF THE SOVIET HIGGS MECHANISM PROPOSAL. Unlike the Higgs mechanism proposals by Higgs, Brout and Englert, and Guralnik and Hagen, the mechanism proposed by Soviet Physicists Alexander Polyakov and Alexander Migdal is often overlooked because the publication of their paper was delayed by the bureaucratic process in the Soviet Union -- the 'referee' of the journal initially refused to publish the paper "having received negative and incorrect criticisms from some skeptical senior scientists" (Close, Frank. The Infinity Puzzle: The Personalities, Politics, and Extraordinary Science Behind the Higgs Boson, 146).
Although likely unknowable as no date was given for the original submission, many in the scientific community believe that the work of Polyakov and Migdal – two 19-year-old undergraduates working entirely independent of Western scientific development – not only actually preceded that of Brout and Englert – but that in fact their work was very likely first (Close, Frank). I
n 1964 or 1965 and “in the Soviet Union, the leading solid-state theorist, Anatoly Larkin, posed a challenge to two outstanding undergraduate teenage theorists, Sacha Polyakov and Sacha Migdal: ‘In field theory the vacuum is like a substance; what happens there?’
[Polyakov and Migdal] took up Larkin’s challenge, and answered it, demonstrating that the quantum of radiation – the gauge boson, which starts out massless in the fundamental equations – can become massive. Senior colleagues immediately derided them as naïve. Migdal recalls: ‘We were stomped to the ground at every seminar [where] we tried to present this work. The most disturbing thing was that nobody would even argue on the subject – the mere mention of ‘spontaneous symmetry breaking’ caused healthy laughter, which ended the conversation.
“Migdal’s memoires are that they were victims of Soviet political philosophy polluting scientific thought. ‘For the first time since Galileo, the quest for the structure of matter was stopped on political grounds. There is nothing inside [the proton; there has to be] total nuclear democracy – everything consists of everything else. Do not ask whether there was the rabbit inside the hat: you are only allowed to compute how far it will jump and in what direction’” (ibid).
Describing Polyakov and Migdal’s isolation and methodology, in 2013 the Royal Academy of Swedish Sciences noted: “It is clear though that this paper was completely independent of the development in the West. They set up a field-theoretic framework for a non-abelian gauge theory with a scalar bound state and computed in a spontaneously broken version of the model to all orders in perturbation theory using a Bethe-Salpeter equation to find that the Nambu-Goldstone mode only interacts with virtual particles and is therefore unobservable" (The Beh-Mechanism, Interactions with Short Range Forces and Scalar Particles, Royal Academy of Swedish Sciences, 8 October 2013).
“Spontaneous Breakdown of Strong Interaction Symmetry and Absence of Massless Particles” is an English translation appearing in Soviet Physics JETP 24 No. 1 pp. 91–98, January 1967. Soviet Physics JETP is: A Translation of the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The Russian original appeared in July of 1966, Vol. 51, No. 1. Item #618
CONDITION & DETAILS: Individual issue in original wraps. Moscow: Nauka (Science) Publishing House. New York: Translated by the American Institute of Physics. 4to (11 x 8.5; 275 x 213mm). Ex-libris with two small stamps on the front wrap (Atomic Energy Commission, Bethesda) and no other markings whatsoever. Near fine condition – clean, bright, and tightly bound.