Elementary-Particle Physics

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Particle Physics for beginners


The dodecahedron and modern elementary particle physics

The dodecahedron, one the five Platonic Solids in Timaeus, which appears beautifully in Dali’s “Sacrament of the Last Supper” and “The 4th Dimension”, corresponds coincidently to the same solution of a certain simple algebraic equation as the Dynkin diagram containing all information about the algebraic group currently offering our best hope towards unification of all fundamental interactions and elementary particles under a single symmetry. However, the importance of Plato's use of the dodecahedron as corresponding to quintessence does not lie in its particular shape, since this has no direct relevance to modern particle physics, but to the fundamental concept of having elementary physical elements with different properties correspond to distinct - although following a common underlying symmetry principle - abstract mathematical entities.

Crois-tu que cette vie énorme […],
S’arrête sur l’abîme à l’homme, escarpement ?
Non, elle continue, invincible, admirable,
Entre dans l’invisible et dans l’impondérable,
Y disparaît pour toi, chair vile, emplit l’azur
D’un monde éblouissant, miroir du monde obscur
                                                                              Victor Hugo (1855)