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  1. The Elusive Higgs Mechanism.Chris Smeenk - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):487-499.
    The Higgs mechanism is an essential but elusive component of the Standard Model of particle physics. Without it Yang‐Mills gauge theories would have been little more than a warm‐up exercise in the attempt to quantize gravity rather than serving as the basis for the Standard Model. This article focuses on two problems related to the Higgs mechanism clearly posed in Earman’s recent papers (Earman 2003, 2004a, 2004b): what is the gauge‐invariant content of the Higgs mechanism, and what does it mean (...)
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  • Spontaneous symmetry breaking and chance in a classical world.Chuang Liu - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (3):590-608.
    This essay explores the nature of spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) in connection with a cluster of interrelated concepts such as Curie's symmetry principle, ergodicity, and chance and stability in classical systems. First, a clarification of the two existing senses of SSB is provided and an argument developed for a proposal for SSB, in which not only the possibilities but also the actual breakings are referred to. Second, a detailed analysis is given of classical SSB that answers the questions: (i) how (...)
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  • Explaining quantum spontaneous symmetry breaking.Chuang Liu & Gérard G. Emch - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (1):137-163.
    Two alternative accounts of quantum spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) are compared and one of them, the decompositional account in the algebraic approach, is argued to be superior for understanding quantum SSB. Two exactly solvable models are given as applications of our account -- the Weiss-Heisenberg model for ferromagnetism and the BCS model for superconductivity. Finally, the decompositional account is shown to be more conducive to the causal explanation of quantum SSB.
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  • Curie’s Principle and spontaneous symmetry breaking.John Earman - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 18 (2 & 3):173 – 198.
    In 1894 Pierre Curie announced what has come to be known as Curie's Principle: the asymmetry of effects must be found in their causes. In the same publication Curie discussed a key feature of what later came to be known as spontaneous symmetry breaking: the phenomena generally do not exhibit the symmetries of the laws that govern them. Philosophers have long been interested in the meaning and status of Curie's Principle. Only comparatively recently have they begun to delve into the (...)
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  • Spontaneous creation of the universe ex nihilo.Maya Lincoln & Avi Wasser - 2014 - Physics of the Dark Universe 2 (4):195-199.
    Questions regarding the formation of the Universe and ‘what was there’ before it came to existence have been of great interest to mankind at all times. Several suggestions have been presented during the ages – mostly assuming a preliminary state prior to creation. Nevertheless, theories that require initial conditions are not considered complete, since they lack an explanation of what created such conditions. We therefore propose the ‘Creatio Ex Nihilo’ (CEN) theory, aimed at describing the origin of the Universe from (...)
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