Nima Arkani-Hamed

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Nima Arkani-Hamed (2004)

Nima Arkani-Hamed (نیما ارکانی حامد — born April 5, 1972) is an Iranian-American-Canadian physicist, specializing in high-energy physics and string theory. Arkani-Hamed is now on the faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study and won the 2012 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.


  • Two of the major questions left unanswered by the Standard Model of particle physics have to do with hierarchies of mass scales. The first is the flavor problem: what determines the masses of the quarks and leptons, and why do they span such a large range, e.g. why is the top quark 3 × 105 times heavier than the electron? The second is the gauge hierarchy problem: why is the weak scale seventeen orders of magnitude smaller than the Planck scale?
  • There are still many open questions that need answering: Why does gravity defy the notion of space-time in short distances? Why are there humongous quantum fluctuations in shorter distances? How is a larger Universe possible? These questions relate to the hierarchy problem and fine tuning and are divided into two stages. First, one should ask: “Why is there a macroscopic Universe that is not broken in the Planck scale,” and second: “Why are there large scale structures in the large Universe and they are not broken into Planck scale black holes?”
  • The stakes are higher than the past. We aren’t asking about this or that particle, but something much more deeply structural about physical reality. … By far the best way to settle this question is to lead a charge to the highest possible energies and build a 100-TeV collider.
  • Whether in physics and mathematics or in the humanities, when something really finally works, it has a certain perfection to it, a feeling of inevitability, like it was so completely obvious all along, and it couldn't be any other way.

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