Back from Paris


It is several days that I have no more posted on the blog but for a very good reason: I was in Paris for the Eleventh Workshop on Non-Perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics (see here). It has been a beautiful chance to see Paris with the eyes of a tourist and being immersed in a lot of physics in the area I am currently contributing. The conference was held at the Institut d’Astrophyisique de Paris. This week was indeed plenty of information for people in high-energy physics due to the release by D0 of their measurements on the Wjj data, showing that the almost 5 sigma bump of CDF was not there (see here, here and here). In the conference there has been room for talks by experimentalists too and it was the most shocking part as I will explain below.

The talks were somehow interesting with a couple of days mostly dedicated to AdS/CFT approach for QCD. So, string theory got a lot of space even if I should say that more promising approaches seem to exist. The first day there have been a couple of talks that were very near my interest by Dario Zappalà and Marco Ruggieri. They were reporting on their very recent papers (here and here). With Marco, I spent all the week together while with Dario we have had a nice dinner near Latin Quartier. The question Dario presented was about the existence of massive excitations (let me say “persistence”) also beyond the critical temperature for Yang-Mills theory. We discussed together with Marco this result and Marco claimed that massive excitations should have melted beyond the critical temperature while my view is that the residual of mass should be due to temperature corrections to the mass spectrum of the theory. Marco in his talk presented the idea of measuring the chiral chemical potential on the lattice as this could give plain evidence of existence for the critical endpoint without the annoying sign problem. A proof of existence of the critical endpoint is somehow the Holy Grail of finite temperature QCD and something under a lot of studies both theoretically and on the lattice. So, Marco’s proposal can turn out a significant shortcut toward the reaching of this goal.

The second day Carl Bender gave a very beautiful talk telling us about PT invariant quantum mechanics. PT stays for Parity and Time reversal. The point to start from is the Dirac postulate about the Hamiltonian being Hermitian self-adjoint. Differently from the other postualates of quantum mechanics, this one is too much a mathematical requirement and one could ask if can be made somewhat looser. The paradigm Hamiltonian has the from H=p^2+ix^3. The answer is yes of course and we were left with the doubt that maybe this is the proper formulation of quantum mechanics rather the standard one. I suspect that this could represent a possible technique useful in quantum gravity studies.

I have already said of the two days on string theory. I have just noticed the talk by Luca Mazzucato showing how, with his approach, my scaling with \lambda^\frac{1}{4} for the energy spectrum could be recovered in a strong coupling expansion being \lambda the ‘t Hooft coupling. Unfortunately, Gabriele Veneziano could not partecipate.

On Wednesday there was the most shocking declaration from an experimentalist: “We do not understand the proton”. The reason for this arises from the results presented by people from CERN working at LHC. They showed a systematic deviation of their Montecarlo simulations from experimental data. This means for us, working in this area, that their modeling of low-energy QCD is bad and their possible estimation of the background unsure. There is no way currently to get an exact evaluation of the proton scattering section. I am somewhat surprised by this as so far, as I have always pointed out in this blog, at least the structure of the gluon propagator at low energies should be known exactly from the lattice. So, modeling the proton in such Montecarlo models should be a mitigated issue. This does not seem to be so and these different communities do not seem to talk each other at all. After these shocking news, the evening we took an excellent social dinner and I have had some fine discussions with foreigners colleagues that were well aware of the books from Umberto Eco. One of these, Karl Landsteiner, suggested us to visit the Pantheon to look at the Foucault pendulum. I, Marco Ruggieri and Orlando Oliveira took this initiative the next day and it was a very nice place to visit. If you are a physicist you can understand the emotion of being there seeing that sphere moving like Newton’s equations demand and inexorably proving the rotation of the Earth. Karl gave an interesting talk that day where AdS/CFT is used to obtain transport coefficients in heavy ion collisions.

In the same day, Orlando Oliveira gave his talk. Orlando is a friend of mine and gave relevant contribution to our understanding of the behavior of low-energy gluon propagator. He has been the author of one of the papers that, at Regensburg on 2007, started the end of the so called “scaling solution” for the gluon propagator (see here). Orlando is going ahead, starting from the acquired form of the gluon propagator, to understand low-energy phenomenology of nuclear forces. In this work, he and his colleagues introduce an octect of scalar fields having the aim to produce the gluon mass through a non-zero vacuum expectation value (see here) producing chiral symmetry breaking. My work and that of Orlando are somewhat overlapped in the initial part where we have an identical understanding of the low-energy behavior of  Yang-Mills theory.

On Friday, there have been a couple of significant events. The first one was my talk. This is a report on my recent paper. I will not discuss this point further leaving this material to your judgement. The second relevant event was given in the talks by Thierry Grandou and our Chairman and Organizer Herbert Fried. The relevant paper is here. While Grandou made a more mathematical introduction with a true important result: the resummation of all gluon exchange diagrams realizing some dream of having completely solved QCD, Fried provided a more concrete result giving the binding potential between quarks analytically obtained from the preceding theorem. We were somehow astonished by this that seems just a small step away from the Millenium prize. Berndt Mueller, one of the Organizers, suggested to Fried to determine the mass gap and wait a couple of years to get the prize. Indeed, this appears a true striking exact result in the realm of QCD.

All in all, an interesting conference in a special place: Paris. For me, it has been a very nice period of full immersion in physics with the company of very nice friends.

Update: Mary Ann Rotondo put online the slides of the talks (see here).

P. Castorina, V. Greco, D. Jaccarino, & D. Zappalà (2011). A reanalysis of Finite Temperature SU(N) Gauge Theory arXiv arXiv: 1105.5902v1

Marco Ruggieri (2011). The Critical End Point of Quantum Chromodynamics Detected by Chirally
Imbalanced Quark Matter arXiv arXiv: 1103.6186v1

Irene Amado, Karl Landsteiner, & Francisco Pena-Benitez (2011). Anomalous transport coefficients from Kubo formulas in Holography JHEP 05 (2011) 081 arXiv: 1102.4577v3

O. Oliveira, W. de Paula, & T. Frederico (2011). Linking Dynamical Gluon Mass to Chiral Symmetry Breaking via a QCD Low
Energy Effective Field Theory arXiv arXiv: 1105.4899v1

Marco Frasca (2011). Chiral symmetry in the low-energy limit of QCD at finite temperature arXiv arXiv: 1105.5274v2

H. M. Fried, Y. Gabellini, T. Grandou, & Y. -M. Sheu (2009). Gauge Invariant Summation of All QCD Virtual Gluon Exchanges Eur.Phys.J.C65:395-411,2010 arXiv: 0903.2644v2


The Tevatron affair and the “fat” gluon


Tevatron is again at the forefront of the blogosphere mostly due to Jester and Lubos. Top quark seems the main suspect to put an end to the domain of the Standard Model in particle physics. Indeed, years and years of confirmations cannot last forever and somewhere some odd behavior must appear. But this is again an effect at 3.4 sigma and so all could reveal to be a fluke and the Standard Model will escape again to its end. But in the comment area of the post in the Lubos’ blog there is a person that pointed out my proposal for a “fat” gluon. “Fat” here stays just for massive and now I will explain this idea and its possible problems.

The starting point is the spectrum of Yang-Mills theory that I have obtained recently (see here and here). I have shown that, at very low energies, the gluon field has a propagator proportional to


with the spectrum given by


being \sigma the string tension being about (440\ MeV)^2. If we go beyond the leading order of such a strong coupling expansion one gets that the masses run with momenta. This has been confirmed on the lattice quite recently by Orlando Oliveira and Pedro Bicudo (see here). The interesting point about such a spectrum is that is not bounded from above and, in principle, one could take n large enough to reach TeV energies. These glueballs are very fat indeed and could explain CDF’s results if these should be confirmed by them, their colleagues at D0 and LHC.

It should be emphasized that these excitations of the glue field have spin zero and so will produce t-tbar pairs in a singlet state possibly explaining the charge asymmetry through the production rate of such very massive glueballs.

A problem can be seen immediately from the form of the propagator that has each contribution in the sum exponentially smaller as n increases. Indeed, this has a physical meaning as this is also what appears in the decay constants of such highly massive gluons (see here). Decay constants are fundamental in the computation of cross sections and if they are very near zero so could be the corresponding cross sections. But Oliveira and Bicudo also showed that these terms in the propagator depend on the momenta too, evading the problem at higher energies. Besides, I am working starting from the low energy part of the theory and assuming that such a spectrum will not change too much at such high energies where asymptotic freedom sets in and gluons seem to behave like massless particles. But we know from the classical theory that a small self-interaction in the equations is enough to get masses for the field and massless gluons are due to the very high energies we are working with. For very high massive excitations this cannot possibly apply. The message I would like to convey with this analysis is that if we do not know the right low-energy behavior of QCD we could miss important physics also at high-energies. We cannot live forever assuming we can forget about the behavior of Yang-Mills theory in the infrared mostly if the mass spectrum is not bounded from above.

Finally, my humble personal conviction, also because I like the idea behind Randall-Sundrum scenario, is that KK gluons are a more acceptable explanation if these CDF’s results will prove not to be flukes. The main reason to believe this is that we would obtain for the first time in the history of mankind a proof of existence for other dimensions and it would be an epochal moment indeed. And all this just forgetting what would imply for me to be right…

Frasca, M. (2008). Infrared gluon and ghost propagators Physics Letters B, 670 (1), 73-77 DOI: 10.1016/j.physletb.2008.10.022

Frasca, M. (2009). Mapping a Massless Scalar Field Theory on a Yang–Mills Theory: Classical Case Modern Physics Letters A, 24 (30) DOI: 10.1142/S021773230903165X

P. Bicudo, & O. Oliveira (2010). Gluon Mass in Landau Gauge QCD arxiv arXiv: 1010.1975v1

Frasca, M. (2010). Glueball spectrum and hadronic processes in low-energy QCD Nuclear Physics B – Proceedings Supplements, 207-208, 196-199 DOI: 10.1016/j.nuclphysbps.2010.10.051

What is Science?


Reading this Lubos’ post about a very good site (this one) I entered into the comment area and I have found the following declaration by him:

Science is a meritocracy where answers are determined by objective criteria, and for most of the difficult questions, only one or a few people know the right answer and the scientific method exists to isolate this special right answer…

Of course, I subscribe this that is widely known to people doing research. I would just change the word “meritocracy” by “dictatorship of truth”. But there is an intermediate age where the truth takes time to become acclaimed and this is time for opinions and before to become aware of the people that firstly reached the goal, there is a struggle for the truth to be acquired. I would like to remember here the status of quantum field theory in the sixties when bootstrap and similar failures appeared as a paradigm and very few brave people were doing research in the right directions taking us to the triumph of today. In this kind of dynamics, at a first stage it is very difficult to be able to tell, also for very well trained people, where the right track is lying. In physics our luck resides in experiments. This makes things simpler when technology helps us to perform them otherwise time to decide for the best are increasingly longer. So, merit as claimed by Lubos is something that sets in at the very end of the process.

In my specific field of activity, QCD, we are in a better situation as a lot of laboratories around the World have facilities to perform important measurements to reach the goal. And this situation is even better as we can use powerful computers to solve the theory. My view as a physicist is that, without a sound comparison of the spectrum of the theory with experiments, nobody can claim to have properly solved the mass gap problem. All my present effort is going into this direction because there is nothing more exciting than having hit the right behavior of Nature (our mother not the bitch…). I take this chance to remember here the effort in this direction of Silvio Sorella, that with the help of other fine colleagues, is going to show how his approach indeed fulfill these expectations of glueball masses (see here). These authors give a correct idea about what is the  right approach to be followed for the problem of low-energy QCD.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the relevance of sites like the one pointed out by Lubos. This site has also been posted by Sean Carroll (see here) in his blog. I have pointers to my blog there and in the more successful Mathoverflow. Unfortunately, I have no much time to spend on contributing to these sites but these are very good places to know about science and the right one. So, this is also my invitation for my readers to contribute to them actively.

D. Dudal, M. S. Guimaraes, & S. P. Sorella (2010). Glueball masses from an infrared moment problem and nonperturbative
Landau gauge arxiv arXiv: 1010.3638v3

A more prosaic explanation


The aftermath of some blogosphere activity about CDF possible finding at Tevatron left no possible satisfactory explanation beyond a massive octet of gluons that was already known in the literature and used by people at Fermilab. In the end we need some exceedingly massive gluons to explain this asymmetry. If you look around in the net, you will find other explanations that go beyond ordinary known physics of QCD. Of course, speaking about known physics of QCD we leave aside what should have been known so far about Yang-Mills theory and mass gap. As far as one can tell, no generally accepted truth is known about otherwise all the trumpets around the World would have already sung.

But let us do some educated guesses using our recent papers (here and here) and a theorem proved by Alexander Dynin (see here). These papers show that the spectrum of a Yang-Mills theory is discrete and the particles have an internal spectrum that is bounded below (the mass gap) but not from above. I can add to this description that there exists a set of spin 0 excitations making the ground state of the theory and ranging to infinite energy. So, if we suppose that the annihilation of a couple of quarks can generate a particle of this with a small chance, having enough energy to decay in a pair t-tbar in a singlet state, we can observe an asymmetry just arising from QCD.

I can understand that this is a really prosaic explanation but it is also true that we cannot live happily forgetting what is going on after a fully understanding of a Yang-Mills theory and that we are not caring too much about. So, before entering into  the framework of very exotic explanations just we have to be sure to have fully understood all the physics of the process and that we have not forgotten anything.

Marco Frasca (2007). Infrared Gluon and Ghost Propagators Phys.Lett.B670:73-77,2008 arXiv: 0709.2042v6

Marco Frasca (2009). Mapping a Massless Scalar Field Theory on a Yang-Mills Theory: Classical
Case Mod. Phys. Lett. A 24, 2425-2432 (2009) arXiv: 0903.2357v4

Alexander Dynin (2009). Energy-mass spectrum of Yang-Mills bosons is infinite and discrete arxiv arXiv: 0903.4727v2

An important hit from CDF at Tevatron


I look around in the blogosphere to see if important news that escaped me were starting to come out. This is a typical reason to read blogs. In a few hours I saw the posts from Jester and Lubos informing me of a new paper from CDF (see here) appeared on arxiv. This paper contains a possible hint of new physics as they observe a 3.4 sigma effect of charge asymmetry in top-anti-top pair production that disagrees with the Standard Model prediction. They improve on preceding measurements by D0 and CDF due to the increased luminosity and now the effect begins to be an important real discover. As such, all this should be shortly confirmed at LHC.

The idea behind these measurements is to see charge asymmetry effects arising at the next-to-leading order by interference terms in QCD. This asymmetry translates into a forward-backward asymmetry. This effect should be really small as QCD is a charge symmetric theory and, indeed, at the leading order no difference is seen for top or antitop. As these top pairs are produced by proton-antiproton collisions this is a pure effect arising from strong interactions and so, any unexpected effect should be ascribed to problems with our current understanding of QCD. CDF improves significantly the result showing a large disagreement with the prediction of the Standard Model. But what is really interesting here is that they show inequivocally that this effect is mass dependendent. They measure the invariant mass of top-antitop pairs and find that their results are consistent with a resonance of a mass of 450 Gev. It is like a massive gluon entered into the process producing the asymmetry! It should not be forgotten that at this high energies QCD should settle at an asymptotic freedom regime and one could safely do a perturbative analysis of this process. Indeed, there is paper, cited in this CDF’s work, that do so assuming a massive gluon. CDF analysis relies on this paper to do a theoretical analysis of their results.

In the comments of Lubos’ post you can find an answer to the question if this massive particle could be supersymmetric. Anyhow, this particle is strongly interacting whatever its nature. With this in mind, we can try to do a simple analysis through the idea that Yang-Mills theory has a mass gap. As already said, if the coupling of the theory is finite, gluons and their excitations must be massive (see here and here). The spectrum of the theory is not bounded from above and so these massive excitations should be expected also at higher energies. This analysis is in agreement also with a recent work of Alexaner Dynin at Ohio State University (see here). Indeed, this spectrum is the same of a harmonic oscillator and so such massive gluons should be expected at any energy scale in principle. Of course, to confirm such a hypothesis, a full computation of charge asymmetry should be performed and eventually found in agreement with CDF measurements. But a mass gap in Yang-Mills theory should mean a massive spectrum and the absence of any bound from above could imply this (take this cum grano salis).

At 3.4 sigma we are in a fluke possiility yet. We have to stay tuned for this result to be finally confirmed in a near future.

What’s up with 2d Yang-Mills theory?


Being near Christmas I send my wishes to all my friends around the World. Most of them are physicists like Attilio Cucchieri that I cited a lot in this blog with his wife Tereza Mendes for their beautiful works on Yang-Mills propagators. Attilio asked to me again about the behavior of 2d Yang-Mills propagators and my approach to the theory. As you know, lattice computations due to Axel Maas (see here) showed without doubt that here, differently from the higher dimensional case, the scaling solution appears. This is an important matter as ‘t Hooft showed in 1974 (see here) that, in the light cone gauge, Yang-Mills theory has no dynamics. Indeed, the Lagrangian takes a very simple form

{\cal L}=-\frac{1}{2}{\rm Tr}(\partial_- A_+)^2

and the nonlinear part is zero due to the fact that the field has just two Lorentzian indexes. Please, note that here A_\pm=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(A_1\pm A_0) and  x_\pm=\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}(x_1\pm x_0). Now, you can choose the time variable as you like and if you take this to be x_+ you see that there are no dynamical equations left for the gluon field! You are not able to do this in higher dimensions where the dynamics is not trivial and the field develops a mass gap already classically. Two-dimensional QCD is not trivial as there remains a static (nonlocal) Coulomb interaction between quarks. You can read the details in ‘t Hooft’s paper.

Now, in my two key papers (here and here) I proved that, at the classical level the Yang-Mills field maps on a quartic massless scalar field in the limit of the coupling going to infinity. So, I am able to build a quantum field theory for the Yang-Mills equations in this limit thanks to this theorem. But what happens in two dimensions? The scalar field Lagrangian in the light-cone coordinate becomes

{\cal L}=-\partial_+\phi\partial_-\phi-\lambda\phi^4

and you can see that, whatever is your choice for the time variable, this field has always a dynamics. In 2d I am not able to map the two fields and, if I choose a different gauge for the Yang-Mills field, I can find propagators that are no more bounded to be massive or Yukawa-like. Indeed, the scaling solution is obtained. This is a bad news for supporters of this solution but this is plain mathematics. It is interesting to note that the scalar field appears to have nontrivial massive solutions also in this case. No mass gap is expected for the Yang-Mills field instead.

Thank you a lot Attilio for pointing me out this question!

Merry Xmas to everybody!

Yang-Mills and string theory


As I pointed out in a recent post, the question of the mass gap for Yang-Mills theory should be considered settled. This implies an understanding of the way mass arises in our world. It is seen that mass is a derived concept and not a fundamental one. I have given an explanation of this here. In a Yang-Mills theory, massive excitations appear due to the presence of a finite nonlinearity. The same effect is seen for a massless quartic scalar field and, indeed, these fields map each other at a classical level. It is interesting to note that a perturbation series with a coupling going to zero can miss this conclusion and we need a dual perturbation with the coupling going to infinity to uncover it. The question we would like to ask here is: What does all this mean for string theory?

As we know, string theory has been claimed not to have any single proposal for an experimental verification. But, of course, without entering into a neverending discussion, there are some important points that could give strong support to the view string theory entails. Indeed, so far there are two essential points that research on string theory produced and that should be confirmed as soon as possible: AdS/CFT correspondence and supersymmetry. Both these theoretical results are strongly supported by the research pursued by our community. For the first point, understanding of QCD spectrum, with or without quarks, through the use of AdS/CFT correspondence is a very active field of research with satisfactory results. I have discussed here this matter several times and I have pointed out the very good work of Stan Brodsky and Guy de Teramond as an example for this kind of research (e.g. see this). Soft-wall model discussed by these authors seems in a very good agreement with the current scenario that is arisen in our understanding of Yang-Mills theory that I emphasized several times in this blog.

About supersymmetry I should say that I am at the forefront since I have presented this paper. The mass gap obtained in Yang-Mills theory arising from nonlinearities has an interesting effect when considered for the quartic scalar field interecting with a gauge field and spinor fields. Taking a coupling for the self-interaction of the scalar field being very large, all the conditions for supersymmetry are fulfilled and all the interacting fields get identical masses and coupling. This implies that, if the mechanism that produces mass in QCD and Standard Model is the same, the Higgs field must be supersymmetric. I call this field Higgs, notwithstanding it has lost some important characteristics of a Higgs field, because is again a scalar field inducing masses to the other fields interacting with it. So, if current experiments should confirm this scenario this would be a big hit for physics ending with a complete understanding of the way mass arises in our world both for the macroscopic and the microscopic world.

So, we can conclude that our research area is producing some relevant conclusions that could address research in more fundamental areas as quantum gravity in a well-defined direction. I think we will get some great news in the near future. As for the present, I am happy to have given an important contribution to this research line.

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