Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What specific behaviour confirmed the existence of the W and Z bosons at the UA1 and UA2 experiments?


share|cite|improve this question
See an UA2 paper from 1983 about Z0, , as an example. They found 8 events with the right mass around 91 GeV that decayed into e+ e-, relatively to the non-Z background of 0.7 events or so only. So clearly there had to be something at the mass indicated and it agreed with the electroweak theory. – Luboš Motl May 14 '11 at 6:32
@ Luboš Motl: most enlightening, thank you very much. – Richard Terrett May 14 '11 at 6:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since Lubos did not make an answer of his comment I would suggest reading the "discovery" paragraph in the Wiki article.

The "specific behaviour" are the characteristic decay modes of each particle, that clustered at the masses finally assigned, as the reference in the comment above shows.

You need a library to go to the original discovery references, but the decay modes are in the article in this link.

Edit: from the last link:

enter image description here

share|cite|improve this answer
I created this question after I read the discovery section of the Wikipedia page and found myself no wiser as to the nature of the 'unambiguous signals' described therein (i.e. whether it was calorimetry of decay products or something else). Luboš' comment essentially answers the question however as it is not an answer I have no way of accepting it. How should I proceed? Should I accept your answer instead? – Richard Terrett May 16 '11 at 8:29
Well, for neatness maybe you should, since it is essentially the same answer as in Lubos' comment. – anna v May 16 '11 at 9:20

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.