The Making of the Standard Theory

John Iliopoulos

1. Introduction
The construction of the Standard Model, which became gradually the Standard Theory of elementary particle physics, is, probably, the most remarkable achievement of modern theoretical physics. In this Chapter we shall deal mostly with the weak interactions. It may sound strange that a revolution in particle physics was initiated by the study of the weakest among them (the effects of the gravitational interactions are not measurable in high energy physics), but we shall see that the weak interactions triggered many such revolutions and we shall have the occasion to meditate on the fundamental significance of “tiny” effects. We shall outline the various steps, from the early days of the Fermi theory to the recent experimental discoveries, which confirmed all the fundamental predictions of the Theory. We shall follow a phenomenological approach, in which the introduction of every new concept is motivated by the search of a consistent theory which agrees with experiment. As we shall explain, this is only part of the story, the other part being the requirement of mathematical consistency… Read more at