97-648 Luis Gonzalez-Mestres
Physics opportunities above the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin cutoff: Lorentz symmetry violation at the Planck scale (203K, PS) Dec 26, 97
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Abstract. Special relativity has been tested at low energy with great accuracy, but these results cannot be extrapolated to very high-energy phenomena: this new domain of physics may actually provide the key to the, yet unsettled, question of the ether and the absolute rest frame. Introducing a critical distance scale, a , below 10E-25 cm (the wavelength scale of the highest-energy observed cosmic rays) allows to consider models, compatible with standard tests of special relativity, where a small violation of Lorentz symmetry (a can, for instance, be the Planck length) leads to a deformed relativistic kinematics (DRK) producing dramatic effects on the properties of very high-energy cosmic rays. For instance, the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin (GZK) cutoff does no longer apply and particles which are unstable at low energy (neutron, some hadronic resonances like the Delta++ , possibly several nuclei...) become stable at very high energy. In these models, an absolute local rest frame exists (the vacuum rest frame, VRF) and special relativity is a low-momentum limit. We discuss the possible effects of Lorentz symmetry violation (LSV) on kinematics and dynamics, as well as the cosmic-ray energy range (well below the energy scale associated to the fundamental length) and experiments (on earth and from space) where they could be detected. Invited talk at the Workshop on "Observing Giant Cosmic Ray Air Showers for > 10E20 eV Particles from Space", Univ. of Maryland, Nov 13-15, 1997.

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