Item #995 The Symmetry Group of Vector and Axial Vector Currents in Physics Vol. 1, No. 1, July-August, p. 63-75, 1964. Murray Gell-Mann.

The Symmetry Group of Vector and Axial Vector Currents in Physics Vol. 1, No. 1, July-August, p. 63-75, 1964

New York: Physics Publishing Co., 1964. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL PAPER WRAPS OF GELL-MANN’S EXPLORATION OF HIS ‘CURRENT ALGEBRA’. THE PAPER REVIEWS, SLIGHTLY MODIFIES, GENERALIZES AND “ATTEMPTS TO APPLY A THEORY PROPOSED EARLIER OF A HIGHER BROKEN SYMMETRY THAN THE EIGHTFOLD WAY” (Gell-Mann, 1964, 63). Copies of this are rare as the journal was short-lived. Gell-Mann’s paper appeared in its first issue.

In Gell-Mann’s own words, he constructed “a mathematical theory of the strongly interacting particles, which may or may not have anything to do with reality, find suitable algebraic relations that hold in the in the model, postulate their validity, and then throw away the model. We may compare this process to a method sometimes employed in French cuisine: a piece of pheasant meat is cooked between two slices of veal, which are then discarded” (ibid).

“An important and beautiful paper, [Gell-Mann] outlined a program for abstracting relations from a field theory, keeping the ones that might be generally true and then throwing the field theory away… It was a marvelous approach. It gave one the freedom to play with the forbidden fruit of field theory, abstract what one wanted from it, all without having to believe in the theory” (Newman, History of Original Ideas, 80).

In the 1960s and prior to the unification of the electromagnetic and weak interactions, physicists experimented with different ideas in pursuit of a quantized theory for the weak interaction. Murray Gell-Mann’s “‘current algebra’ [explored in part in this paper], where instead of the conventional fields the currents were considered, was quite popular. Using plausible ideas from group theory, Gell-Mann postulated a canonical structure for the commutators of the current components which were involved in the physical process. Conserved vector current (CVC) and partially conserved axial current (PCAC) were assumed. Physical processes could be studied by calculating the corresponding matrix elements of the currents…

“Gell-Mann published his current algebra, the “Symmetry group of vector and axial-vector currents” in the now-defunct journal Physics. Due to the success [however briefly, of Gell-Mann’s] ‘current algebra’ many particle physicists began to research its foundations and applications. So did John [Bell], and it is within this area that he made his outstanding contribution to particle physics” (Bertlmann, Quantum [Un]Speakables II, 25). Item #995

CONDITION & DETAILS: New York: Physics Publishing Co. 4to. [2], 75, [2]. Single library stamp on the front wrap; no other markings. Very slight soiling to the front wrap; withal bright and clean inside and out. Very good condition.

Price: $350.00