"During the years 1962 to 1964 a debate developed about whether the Goldstone theorem could be evaded. Anderson pointed out that in a superconductor the Goldstone mode becomes a massive plasmon mode due to its electromagnetic interaction, and that this mode is just the longitudinal partner of transversely polarized electromagnetic modes, which also are massive (the Meissner effect!). Ths was the first description of what has become known as the Higgs mechanism.

Anderson remarked that "the Goldstone zero-mass difficulty is not a serious one, because we can probably cancel it off against an equal Yang-Mills zero-mass problem". However, since he had neither found an error in the proof of the Goldstone theorem nor discussed explicitly any relativistic model, Anderson's remark was disbelieved at the time by those particle theorists who read it, myself included!"

(Peter Higgs, in "The Rise of the Standard Model, ed. L.Hoddeson, L.Brown, M.Riordan, M.Dresden)

I believe the above quote is of interest to a reader of this blog, who recently questioned the role of Anderson in the construction of the spontaneous symmetry breaking mechanism that gives rise to the Higgs boson and mass to the vector bosons of electroweak theory...

For those who are left wondering: the Goldstone theorem states that the spontaneous breaking of a continuous symmetry creates zero-mass bosons - which do not exist in nature, thus making the idea of spontaneously breaking electroweak theory unappealing in the early 60's.

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