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Naturalness, the Autonomy of Scales, and the 125 GeV Higgs

Williams, Porter (2015) Naturalness, the Autonomy of Scales, and the 125 GeV Higgs. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics. ISSN 1355-2198

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The recent discovery of the Higgs at 125 GeV by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC has put significant pressure on a principle which has guided much theorizing in high energy physics over
the last 40 years, the principle of naturalness. In this paper, I provide an
explication of the conceptual foundations and physical significance of the naturalness principle. I argue that the naturalness principle is well-grounded both empirically and in the theoretical
structure of effective field theories, and that it was reasonable for
physicists to endorse it. Its possible failure to be realized in nature, as suggested by recent LHC data, thus represents an empirical challenge to certain foundational aspects of our
understanding of QFT. In particular, I argue that its failure would undermine one class
of recent proposals which claim that QFT provides us with a picture of the world as being structured into quasi-autonomous physical domains.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: Quantum field theory, Effective field theory, Renormalization, High-Energy Physics
Depositing User: Porter Williams
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2015 20:39
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2015 20:39
Item ID: 11529
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Publisher: Elsevier
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.shpsb.2015.05.003
Date: 26 June 2015
ISSN: 1355-2198

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