75 Years of the Pion


Igor Strakovsky, PhDProfessor, Department of Physics, The George Washington University, Washington, DC USA
Alexey A. Petrov, PhDProfessor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
Nicolai Popov, PhDProfessor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Germany

Series: Physics Research and Technology
BISAC: SCI051000; SCI103000
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/RBBY6315

“A comprehensive book on the wide-range aspects of the pion is highly desirable and – due to its 75 anniversary of its discovery – is written at the right time. Due to its Goldstone boson nature, the pion has intricate properties, the π ⁰ → γ γ decay was one of the first QCD tests and a proof of color. At the same time, the pion was the working horse for high-energy physics for some decades.” – Eberhard Klempt, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

“The year of the discovery of the pion was 1947, an interesting year for several reasons. That discovery was not the only new thing that happened in the Bristol group in 1947, it occurred exactly three quarters of the way through the history of particle physics, which began of course exactly 125 years ago with the discovery of the electron by J. J. Thomson in 1897. In the following 75 years, to 1947, some important progress was made, the discoveries of the positron, neutron, pion and muon and V particle. For these and other reasons, the authors do not restrict themselves to the pion discovery but tell readers also of other events taking place at about that time, which form an essential background to the discovery of the pion. The year 1947 was also a watershed in the sense that the pion and muon discoveries stimulated an explosion of accelerator building: the subject thereafter moved into top gear, and for the first time, detailed and controlled experiments at accelerators began to take over a field which had so far been dominated by cosmic ray experiments where events were rare, and you had to take what Nature gave us.” –  Leonid Nemenov, Professor of Physics, JINR, Dubna, Russia

“I am happy to endorse publication in book form of the collection of 14 articles on aspects of the structure, interactions, and reactions of the pion by the leading active experts on the topic. The pion (or pi-meson), which was discovered 75 years ago, is the lightest of the class of hadrons called “mesons.” It has a fundamental role as the carrier of the longest range part of the nuclear force, which binds neutrons and protons in atomic nuclei. The pion field is the basic field in the hadronic chiral effective field theory representation of quantum chromodynamics (“QCD”), which describes the strong interaction between elementary particles. The book provides a comprehensive description of all the current phenomenological and theoretical aspects of the pion. It is also unique, in that there will be little overlap between this book and other recent literature on the pion and related topics.” – Dan-Olof Riska, Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki, Finland

“The pion is the force actor in nuclear physics. Finally, a book is available that covers essentially all aspects of pion physics, from its discovery, properties, and interactions to pion polarizability and pionium. Much hard-to-find pion mathematics is included. Researchers in the different areas of pion physics have described in detail the current knowledge in their areas.” –  L. David Roper, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA

75 years past the discovery of the pion, this particle still fascinates researchers. This book, written at a level of a graduate text by experts, reviews the progress in theoretical and experimental research of the properties of the pion and describes how its studies help scientists to understand non-perturbative regime of Quantum Chromodynamics, the theory of strong interactions. We describe the current issues in precision analyses of production and decays of the pions and their low energy interactions with other strongly interacting particles, such as kaons and nucleons. We also discuss how precision analyses of transitions involving pions help us understand other interactions and even probe physics beyond the Standard Model.

The book is aimed at advanced graduate students and researchers in theoretical and experimental particle and nuclear physics. It can be used as a teaching supplement to special topics courses at universities as well as for researchers from other fields of physics who are interested in the latest developments in low-energy particle and nuclear physics. Professional particle and nuclear physicists at various universities and laboratories will certainly find it useful. This book can also be used as a teaching supplement by the instructors of advanced physics courses for students.

Table of Contents

The Pion: 1947–2022

Chapter 1. Discovery of Pions
Nicolai Popov

Chapter 2. Meson Factories
William J. Briscoe and John W. Price

Chapter 3. Pions in QCD
Alexey A. Petrov

Chapter 4. Dispersion Relations
Nicolai Popov

Chapter 5. Pion Decays
Dinko Počanić

Chapter 6. Pion Polarizability
Rory Miskimen and Elton S. Smith

Chapter 7. Lifetime of Neutral Pion
Ilya Larin and Rory Miskimen

Chapter 8. Lifetime of Pionium Atom
Nicolai Popov and Igor Strakovsky

Chapter 9. Pion–Nucleon Scattering
Alfred Švarc

Chapter 10. The Fundamental Nature of Low-Energy Pion–Nucleon Interactions
Gerald A. Miller

Chapter 11. Two Pion Production off Nucleon
Andrey Sarantsev

Chapter 12. Inverse Pion Electroproduction
Vitaly Baturin

Chapter 13. Pion–Nucleus Scattering
Susan Seestrom and Christopher Morris

Chapter 14. Outlook: A View of the Future
Alexey A. Petrov, Nicolai Popov, and Igor Strakovsky




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