Rosaler, Joshua and Harlander, Robert
(2019)
Naturalness, Wilsonian Renormalization, and 'Fundamental Parameters' in Quantum Field Theory.
Abstract
The Higgs naturalness principle served as the basis for the so far failed prediction that signatures of physics beyond the Standard Model (SM) would be discovered at the LHC. One influential formulation of the principle, which prohibits fine tuning of bare Standard Model (SM) parameters, rests on the assumption that a particular set of values for these parameters constitute the ``fundamental parameters" of the theory, and serve to mathematically define the theory. On the other hand, an old argument by Wetterich suggests that fine tuning of bare parameters merely reflects an arbitrary, inconvenient choice of expansion parameters and that the exact choice of parameters in an EFT is therefore a matter of convention. We argue that these two interpretations of Higgs fine tuning reflect distinct ways of formulating and interpreting effective field theories (EFTs) within the Wilsonian framework: the first takes an EFT to be defined by a single set of physical, fundamental bare parameters, while the second takes a Wilsonian EFT to be defined instead by a whole Wilsonian renormalization group (RG) trajectory, associated with a oneparameter class of physically equivalent parametrizations. From this latter perspective, no single parametrization constitutes the physically correct, fundamental parametrization of the theory, and the delicate cancellation between bare Higgs mass and quantum corrections appears as an eliminable artifact of the arbitrary, unphysical reference scale with respect to which the physical amplitudes of the theory are parametrized. While the notion of fundamental parameters is well motivated in the context of condensed matter field theory, we explain why it may be superfluous in the context of high energy physics.
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