The development of the statistical bootstrap model for hadrons, quarks and nuclear matter occurred during the 1960s and the 1970s in a period of exceptional theoretical creativity. And if the transition from hadrons to quarks and gluons as fundamental particles was then operated, a transition from standard particles to preons and from the standard space-time to a spinorial one may now be necessary, including related pre-Big Bang scenarios. We present here a brief historical analysis of the scientific problematic of the 1960s in Particle Physics and of its evolution until the end of the 1970s, including cosmological issues. Particular attention is devoted to the exceptional role of Rolf Hagedorn and to the progress of the statistical boostrap model until the experimental search for the quark-gluon plasma started being considered. In parallel, we simultaneously expose recent results and ideas concerning Particle Physics and in Cosmology, an discuss current open questions. Assuming preons to be constituents of the physical vacuum and the standard particles excitations of this vacuum (the superbradyon hypothesis we introduced in 1995), together with a spinorial space-time (SST), a new kind of Regge trajectories is expected to arise where the angular momentum spacing will be of 1/2 instead of 1. Standard particles can lie on such Regge trajectories inside associated internal symmetry multiplets, and the preonic vacuum structure can generate a new approach to Quantum Field Theory. As superbradyons are superluminal preons, some of the vacuum excitations can have critical speeds larger than the speed of light c, but the by itself the particles with the smallest critical speed (the speed of light). In the new Particle Physics and Cosmology emerging from the pattern thus developed, Hagedorn-like temperatures will naturally be present. As new space, time, momentum and energy scales are expected to be generated by the preonic vacuum dynamics, the Planck scale does not necessarily make sense in the new scenario. It also turns out that two potential evidences for a superbradyonic vacuum with a SST geometry exist already: i) the recent results on quantum entanglement at large distances favoring superluminal propagation of signals and correlations ; ii) the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation between two hemispheres observed by the Planck Collaboration, in agreement with the predictions of cosmic SST automatically generating a privileged space direction for each comoving observer. Simultaneously to the discussion of the large number of open questions, we comment on the required experimental and observational programs.
This paper is dedicated to the memory of Rolf Hagedorn.
Contribution to the 4th International Conference on New Frontiers in Physics (ICNFP 2015), Kolymbari, Crete, August 24-30, 2015. Article sent to the Editors on January 29, 2016.