World on a String – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

World on a String

HWS professor's theory on string model leads toward better understanding of quantum chromodynamics

(March 1, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.–Physicists have been trying to untangle the quantum chromodynamic (QCD) string theory since the late 1960s. After years of research, a team of scientists, led by Hobart and William Smith Colleges physics Professor Theodore J. Allen, has introduced a new theory that just might unravel the mystery.

A major sticking point in understanding the QCD string, which describes the nuclear-scale color force, has been finding a way to introduce quark and antiquark spin consistently. Allen's group has successfully modified the string action so that the correct equations of motion for the quark spin follow from boundary conditions similar to those for the quark's position.

“We have had excellent results,” says Allen. “We can already predict the masses of mesons to within 2 percent, which is very good. With the addition of spin, we should be able to do even better. Our breakthrough should open many doors.”

Allen and his fellow researchers, M.G. Olsson and Jeffrey Schmidt from the University of Wisconsin, currently are investigating the quantum mechanics of their theory, to allow for a deeper understanding of the finer details of mesons.

At HWS, Allen is joined by Steven Penn and Donald Spector, also physics professors, in the search to refine comprehension of universal forces. Penn's current research area is experimental relativity, particularly the physics of gravitational wave detectors. He also is a member of the Laser Interferometric Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) project. Spector is a world-class particle physicist whose area of expertise is supersymmetry.