Authors: Jean Louis Van Belle
This paper explores the epistemological foundation of quantum chromodynamics. We do so by re-examining the concept of partons, which was introduced by Richard Feynman as a generic term for pointlike constituents of matter. We examine whether or not the concept of a colorless, flavorless and zero-charge parton – onto which we can then load the various properties that are necessary to explain reality – might work. The conclusion is that the parton model may offer sufficient degrees of freedom to model what the quark-gluon model is modelling. In fact, we suggest the idea of quarks and gluons might be a bit like the 19th century aether theory: we don’t need it. The underlying question is, of course, much more fundamental: do we need quantum field theory?
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