Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gerald Guralnik (1936-2014)

Gerald Guralnik, a senior physicist at Brown University, died on Saturday: PBS. Along with Carl Hagen and Tom Kibble, he wrote one of the 1964 papers that introduced the Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism, or the Higgs mechanism for short, into particle physics.

I was giving a talk at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island in March 2002 (on the bus, it's 50 minutes from Boston, if I am not mistaken) and I believe that he came to the talk but it's a long time ago and I don't remember for certain.

Guralnik wrote some other other well-known papers about QCD, hadrons, pions, glueballs, and transitions. As you know, the theoretical God particle Nobel prize went to Englert and Higgs only. Another pioneer of the God mechanism, Robert Brout, died in 2011.

Guralnik was also one of the early enthusiastic supporters of numerical approaches to quantum field theory.

The paper on the God mechanism – which remained the only renowned paper that he has co-authored – seems extremely conservative and straightforward today. We have already gotten used to this kind of quantum field theories. Non-Abelian gauge theories belong to what we consider the "most generic" quantum field theories today and a spontaneously broken gauge symmetry is one of the "most frequent" fates that a gauge symmetry may undergo.

A six-minute CERN interview with Guralnik from July 3rd, 2012: hours before the Higgs boson discovery was announced (Guralnik was present in the audience).

But even such ideas used to be controversial among some people, including the most achieved ones. In one of his essays, Guralnik wrote that Werner Heisenberg (and Robert Marshak) told Guralnik that this kind of work (breaking of gauge symmetries) were "junk" and Guralnik should have switched to something else if he had wanted to survive in the Academia. You may watch a one-hour 2013 talk by Guralnik about heresies in physics. Well, Heisenberg and Marshak were wrong.

RIP Prof Guralnik.


  1. Providence is about 50 miles from Boston. One day in my youth, I got it into my head to drive to Providence - no particular reason - just to see it - and I did. I was shocked by the short distance since, hey, it's in another state. :-)

  2. Exactly - one is there faster than from Pilsen to Prague, and those are very close indeed (and in the same state).

    In the middle of Texas, it's harder to see another state.

  3. Forget about the Korean option. They can't land a plane (manually), can't operate a boat (top heavy by 3x). In their culture they can't say no (not safe) to the boss.

  4. Hmmm. It's often said but I think that at his age, very close to normal life expectancy, it cannot be counted as "untimely".

    Iveta Bartosova's death was untimely!

  5. kashyap vasavadaApr 29, 2014, 6:10:00 PM

    Well Lubos! These days people live until late nineties.I am only one year younger than him. So I will not say his death is timely! Yes Iveta's death was also quite untimely. Any way I hope you live well past into your nineties and continue blogging.You are doing a great job.

  6. LOL, maybe I will do other things if I manage to live longer, too.

    You're lucky and I know and knew numerous people above 90 - doing fine. On the other hand, the life expectancy for U.S. men is still just 77, exactly the age when he died:


  7. kashyap vasavadaApr 29, 2014, 7:30:00 PM

    I agree sort of. But one number is not enough for this conclusion. This number probably includes child mortality, substance abuse, violent deaths, poverty, lack of good nutrition for some groups,
    overweight, lack of good medical care and in general unhealthy lifestyle. It is said that once you get past 65, you have good lifestyle and use medical care without delay, the life expectancy changes dramatically.

  8. One's life expectancy at all ages is non-zero. So whenever death comes it's always 'untimely'.

    For some unfortunately, like your fellow countrywoman Iveta Bartošová, it's untimeliness is excessive.

    The trick is to minimise the excess.

  9. LOL, right, substance abuse, child mortality, and diseases lower the life expectancy.

    There are also many things that increase it - like patient doctors in the hospital. Do you realize that by cherry-picking the "negative things" in the previous paragraph, you're just deliberately skewing what is the "normal age to die"?

    The life expectancy for people of age 65 is higher than 65, for those at 77, it is higher than 77, and for those who are 110, it is longer than 110 years, too. By interpreting this observation a bit less carefully, one could argue that people are immortal. ;-)

  10. LOL, a good try. But look, for example, what are the 4 bestselling models of cell phones in Czechia:

  11. Dear Luboš,

    Good for Zeman. By way of contrast, our bunch are all retarded signed-up ecoloons and crooks. For example, scamermoron's father-in-law is raking in the greentard subsidies at the rate of about £350,000 per annum for letting the bogus renewables industry erect bird-choppers on his land. And 'edcase davey, our libdum Energy & Klimate Change minister, is a puffed-up batshit-cazy ecozealot.

    But back to Zeman. There is something about all this that has puzzled me for sometime.

    Because I find myself so often very much at one with you in your general political and social outlook I just don't understand why you of all people aren't also vehemently anti-EU.

    For example, you appear to run with Zeman and his: "Instead, the firm member is the member who, based on the discussion with others and the exchange of rational arguments, is defending his genuine national interests." At least, you don't pull him up on it.

    To talk about defending national interests while effectively claiming to be a 'firm member' of an organisation devoted to the elimination of the sovereignty of the nation state and its replacement by an unaccountable supranational government, namely itself—seems more than oxymoronic to me.

    Maybe you have laid your views out on this elsewhere. If so, I'd be grateful if you would provide a link. If not, then maybe you could briefly outline them.

    Incidentally, I didn't, and don't, blame new accession countries jumping in and grabbing EU subsidies while the getting is good. That's rational self-interest, up to a point. Up to the point where they lose their countries.

  12. My phone is LG Korean too, Google nexus.
    But I only bought it since it was half the price of the samsung with zero $$ down.

    That is why and how I check this website all the crazy time!!! Lol. And every other site referenced on peters list. Mostly yours though. I got to cut back.

    But when I flew to Asia i went on Cathay with Australian or new Zealand pilots.

    I suggest the same for you.
    Or learn to pray earnestly.
    Or maybe sit next to a nun.

    WATerloo Canada

  13. They build the largest ship that sail the oceans, maybe they have slipped the last few years, I can probly assure that is because leftward thinking.

  14. Nuclear?? I wonder if President Zeman has heard of



    Read carefully here….Currently, solar power accounts for less than one percent of the United States total power output. Ivanpah produces a gross total of 392 megawatts
    accounting for nearly 30 percent of that > 1% and is the largest solar project in the world. WOW!

    The Ivanpah complex is sprawled across roughly 3,500 acres of land near the California-Nevada border, four times the size of New York's Central Park, @ roughly 9 acres per megawatt. Double WOW!

    Greener & Cleaner? Well prepare to be impressed. What if Solar was used as a means of replacing the top 10 U.S. SO2 emitters. (The top 10 largest coal fired polluters.) That would be impressive. Based on 2005 figures these top 10 U.S. SO2 emitters produce some 139,877,216 MWh of power or some 4.7% of all power produced by all 2724 U.S. SO2 emitters. Replacing 10 coal burning plants out of a total of 2724 coal burning plants is a slam dunk with Solar providing the
    greener, cleaner and FREE fuel source.

    The sun does pose a small problem because it’s not always there until it gets there and then it’s gone until it gets there again. (Seems that the sun has some built in variable consistency due to the earth’s rotation, tilted axis, clouds and wind conditions BUT you can bet your bottom dollar the sun will come up tomorrow somewhere.

    Let’s see, @ 9 acres per MWh to replace 4.7% of the U.S. power produced by the top 10 SO2 emitters would only require a land area of 1,258,894,944 acres or roughly
    50% of the total acreage available in all 50 states.

    Reality is, the best solar based power technology available can only produce at any designed capacity for about 30% of the day during summer months when ideally located and if conditions around noon time of a day are ideal.
    50% or 100% of Americas land mass would not be enough since scaling any wind or solar power project by any factor to produce 7/24 is IMPOSSIBLE.

    The concept is parasitic and grossly wasteful at best. Criminal when employed.

    Still, people are drawn to a train wreck.


    The curious from the EU, Middle East, South Africa and
    other points on the globe will be there June 4 to witness the marvel that is Ivanpah. Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric will be there too, providing the operational power to bring Ivanpah on line. And June 4 is close enough to Nevada's equinox for Ivanpah to reach output levels near or at design capacity for approximately 4 hours…..weather permitting.


  15. The ship was overloaded with 3600 tons
    And only rated for 1000. Topheavy and disaster waiting to happen. Captain declared 700 tons only. If this was deliberate overloading and repeated it is criminal.

    Further more the crew can't have practiced the evacuation procedure as they totally blew it.

    The first rescue ship at 9:20 had none to pick up.
    The rescue ship captain says he is embarresed.

    The problem is lax morals and no safety culture.

  16. There exists in a large proportion of the western populations the masochistic streak of guilt from the original sin. Have a look at these flagellants http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=+brazil++flaggelants&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz35

    Greens are the modern version of them, except they want to flagellate all of us too..

  17. Here is one of Gerry's last talks at Brown I think really outlines the mechanism and the times in 1963-64. Talk is before the 2013 Nobel was awarded.


    If anyone got screwed on October 8, 2013 it was Gerry. He was working on this issue prior to almost anyone. I give him credit stating this and pointing out his initial work (with Wally Gilbert) papers were first - and had mistakes that led to the publication delay of the GHK paper. Should have likely been out 5 months earlier as all pieces were in place but they triple checked everything and made sure the Goldstone avoidance was right.
    I know the EU/CERN people don't like this and the honest assessment he makes of the Higgs or BE papers but since very few compare the papers with the expertise of Gerry this video is informative.
    Gerry will be missed.

  18. If you deny that there's global warming occuring and that most of it is due to anthropogenic emissions , you're opposing about 97% of climate scientists . See , http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus
    I don't understand why do you oppose these facts

  19. I oppose these claims because they are mostly downright lies or at least distorted cherry-picked misinterpretations of unimportant truths and because the people who spread these lies are either fanatical dishonest ideologues or brainwashed morons. I oppose these lies vigorously because the reason why these lies are being propagated is that the aforementioned assholes want to use these lies to cripple most of the values of the modern world that I hold dear.

  20. Who are the brainwashed morons ? Climate scientists or NASA ?

  21. Dear Anna, I used the term "brainwashed moron" to be flattering towards the ethics of impressionable poultry such as yourself.

    I am

  22. Greenhouse gases Cool.
    By radiating to space above, clouds are lowered.
    Lower clouds, lower surface temperature, per adiabatic lapse