Chiral symmetry, first entering in nuclear physics in the 1970's for which Gerry Brown played a seminal role, has led to a stunningly successful framework for describing strongly-correlated nuclear dynamics both in finite and infinite systems. We review how the early germinal idea, conceived with the soft-pion theorems in the pre-QCD era, has evolved into a highly predictive theoretical framework for nuclear physics, aptly assessed by Steven Weinberg: "it (chiral effective field theory) allows one to show in a fairly convincing way that what they (nuclear physicists) have been doing all along... is the correct first step in a consistent approximation scheme." Our review recounts both how the theory presently fares in confronting Nature and how one can understand its extremely intricate workings in terms of the multifaceted aspects of chiral symmetry, namely, chiral perturbation theory, skyrmions, Landau Fermi-liquid theory, the Cheshire cat phenomenon, and hidden local and mended symmetries.
Date of publication:
Physics Reports 621 (2016) 2-75