As I continue to study quantum field theory as an amateur, I have a mental picture of some finite number of quantum fields all superimposed on each other, extending throughout space. It seems so straightforward that it must be wrong!

But unless I'm way off, is it not possible to produce a definite list of these fields? If not, why?

  • Electron
  • Photon (EM)
  • ???
  • etc
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    $\begingroup$ Why would you think it's not possible? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Model $\endgroup$ – Noiralef Apr 5 '17 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Noiralef that is still missing quite a few fields. I think the spirit of T3dbot's question is whether or not we can give a bound on how diverse the dark sector is. It can be a tower of infinitely many new fields but they have such weak couplings that it is safe to completely ignore them. $\endgroup$ – AHusain Apr 5 '17 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ @AHusain in this case there's no point in asking as the answer is pretty easy to guess: we don't know. $\endgroup$ – Prof. Legolasov Apr 6 '17 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Noiralef Right, I guess my question is then "does each particle in the standard model correspond to its own independent field," which I assume from your comment is "yes." $\endgroup$ – T3db0t Apr 6 '17 at 17:57

Summing up the discussion in the comments emphasizing the experimental aspect:

The number of fields depends on the theoretical model, because they are theoretical postulates on the quantum field theory that separates the particular model from all others.

In the standard model of particle physics, which is the one that encapsulates all particle data up to now, the fields on which operators operate are the fields of all the particles in the table..

GUT will have more fields, as will supersymmetric theories.

One has to keep in mind that any theory that aims in describing data and observations should have the standard model as a subset or embedded. If or when a supersymmetric particle is discovered at the LHC then the number of fields will have to expand according to a new standard model.


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