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If a particle of unknown intrinsic parity decays into 2 particles each with negative intrinsic parity, does that necessarily imply that the original particle also has negative parity?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, actually it implies that the original particle has positive parity. That's because parity is a multiplicative quantum number, which means that when you want to find the overall parity of a system that consists of multiple parts, you multiply the parities of the individual parts. If you have two decay products each with parity -1, then you multiply them together and get an overall parity of +1.

Of course this all assumes that you're talking about a decay where parity is conserved. Otherwise, the parity of the products doesn't necessarily imply anything in a single case.

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Thank you, David. – Greta Dec 11 '12 at 22:01

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