New Tools for Understanding the Strong Interactions

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The theory of strong interactions is an elegant quantum field theory known as Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). QCD is deceptively simple to formulate, but notoriously difficult to solve. This simplicity belies the diverse set of physical phenomena that fall under its domain, from nuclear forces and bound hadrons, to high energy jets and gluon radiation. In this talk I show how systematic limits of QCD, known as effective field theories, provide a means of isolating the essential degrees of freedom for a particular problem while at the same time supplying a powerful tool for quantitative computations. The adventure will take us from the fine structure of hydrogen, to weak decays of B-mesons, to the behavior of energetic hadrons and jets in QCD.