# Did Hugh David Politzer work independently for his contribution to asymptotic freedom?

The Nobel Prize was awarded to David Gross, Frank Wilczek and Hugh David Politzer. I believe David Gross worked with Frank Wilczek and was his thesis advisor.

On the other hand, I couldn't find much detail of the role of Hugh Politzer played in this discovery. It would also be interesting to know who proposed the method of theory validation. Again the same question would apply. I am lost on which tag to use so I may be in the incorrect area.

• Wikipedia on Politzer: "In his first published article, which appeared in 1973, Politzer described the phenomenon of asymptotic freedom: the closer quarks are to each other, the weaker the strong interaction will be between them.[3] When quarks are in extreme proximity, the nuclear force between them is so weak that they behave almost like free particles. This result—independently discovered at around the same time by Gross and Wilczek at Princeton University—was extremely important in the development of quantum chromodynamics. " Dec 3 '20 at 15:14
• @Jon ..yes thank you. There it is. Wiki is the ususally the first place I look ...but I missed it this time. Dec 3 '20 at 20:18
• Understood, not a problem... Almost too early in the article to have expected it. Dec 3 '20 at 20:27

## 1 Answer

I a not sure I understand what you mean by "theory validation"

In any case, you may learn Politzer's part of the story from his Nobel lecture paper Politzer, H.D., 2005. The dilemma of attribution, International Journal of Modern Physics A 20(25), pp.5741-5751.

His advisor was the legendary Sidney Coleman, who was visiting Princeton from Harvard for a semester, Winter 1972-Spring 1973. Politzer visited him at Princeton a couple of times, and conferred with him and Gross. His unofficial mentor was Erick Weinberg, a more advanced graduate student with β - function experience. He worked independently, and was actually coming from a different direction: generalizing Coleman-Weinberg EW breaking to non-abelian gauge theories: he refocussed his discovery to the strong interactions himself. Unlike Gross & Wilczek, Politzer never wavered about the negative sign of that β - function.

If by validation you meant evidence in support, most theorists had accepted the point within the year of publication (1973), as described in Gross's and Politzer's recollections. The experimental results of DIS, etc were already at hand, so it was the interpretation and acceptance by theorists that was paramount at that stage. By year's end, it had been accepted as the enabling element of QCD, speculated about in 1972 by Gell-Mann, Bardeen and Fritzsch. Few theorists failed to instinctively connect asymptotic freedom to its obverse, infrared slavery, and arguments for confinement, proffered in 1974 by Wilson.

Experimentally, scaling violations predicted by it emerged convincingly in 1974. $$e^+e^-$$-collision jets were observed in 1975, and 3-jets in 1979 at PETRA. By that time there were hardly any doubters...

• Great article and well written. Yes, by validation I did mean a way to test the theory is correct. It looks like all three were conversing before they took independant paths. So interesting how idea's originate and evolve. Thank you Dec 4 '20 at 22:16