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Models and Stories in Hadron Physics

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Models and Stories in Hadron Physics

Fundamental theories are hard to come by. But even if we had them, they would be too complicated to apply. Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is a case in point. This theory is supposed to govern all strong interactions, but it is extremely hard to apply and test at energies where protons, neutrons and ions are the effective degrees of freedom. Instead, scientists typically use highly idealized models such as the MIT Bag Model or the Nambu Jona-Lasinio Model to account for phenomena in this domain, to explain them and to gain nderstanding. Based on these models, which typically isolate a single feature of QCD (confinement and chiral symmetry breaking respectively) and disregard many others, scientists attempt to get a better understanding of the physics of strong interactions. But does this practice make sense? Is it justified to use these models for the purposes at hand? Interestingly, these models do not even provide an accurate description of the mass spectrum of protons, neutrons and pions and their lowest lying excitations well - despite several adjustable parameters. And yet, the models are heavily used. I'll argue that a qualitative story, which establishes an explanatory link between the fundamental theory and a model, plays an important role in model acceptance in these cases.Article

Hartmann, Stephan (1999) Models and Stories in Hadron Physics.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: In: M. Morgan and M. Morrison (eds.), "Models as Mediators", 326-346..
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Models, Intertheory relations
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
Collections: London Philosophy Papers
Depositing User:
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File size194kB
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