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Hadronic decays of the $\tau$ lepton provide a clean source to study hadron dynamics in an energy regime dominated by resonances, with the interesting information captured in the spectral functions. Recent results on exclusive channels are reviewed. Inclusive spectral functions are the basis for QCD analyses, delivering an accurate determination of the strong coupling constant and quantitative information on nonperturbative contributions. Strange decays yield a determination of the strange quark mass.
Comment: proceedings of the PhiPsi09 conference, Oct. 13-16, 2009, Beijing, China
The BABAR collaboration has nearly completed a program of precise measurements of the cross sections for the dominant channels of e+e- --> hadrons from threshold to an energy of 3-5 GeV using the initial-state radiation (ISR) method, i.e. the measurement of the cross sections e+e- --> gamma hadrons with the energetic photon detected at large angle to the beams. These data are used as input to vacuum polarization dispersion integrals, in particular the hadronic contribution to the muon g-2 anomaly. In addition to the recently measured pi+pi- cross section, giving the dominant contibution, many multihadronic channels have been investigated, with some recent examples presented here. We give preliminary results for the process e+e- --> K+K-(gamma) using 232 fb-1 of data collected with the BABAR detector at e+e- center-of-mass energies near...
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