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31
votes
6answers
4k views

Do electrons have shape?

According to the Wikipedia page on the electron: The electron has no known substructure. Hence, it is defined or assumed to be a point particle with a point charge and no spatial extent. Does ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the graviton hypothetical?

Wikipedia lists the graviton as a hypothetical particle. I wonder whether graviton is indeed hypothetical or does its existence directly follow from modern physics? Does observation of gravitational ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

Can you split a photon?

I was wondering if a photon is divisible. If you look at a photon as a particle, then you may be able to split it (in theory). Is it possible and how do you split it?
15
votes
6answers
2k views

What happens before a radioactive element decays?

What happens to a radioactive element just before it decays? In school, I've been told that the decay process of an element is absolutely random, and it is impossible to determine which unstable ...
13
votes
3answers
482 views

Why are all force particles bosons?

All of the force-particles in the standard model are bosons, now my question is pretty short, namely: Why are all force particles bosons? This can't be a coincidence.
12
votes
3answers
2k views

An electron has no known internal structure, does that imply it has an unknown one?

I'm currently reading Alonso and Finn's Electromagnetism book. It explains that the spin contributes to the magnetic moment and is somewhat comparable to a rotation of the particle around its own ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How can a point-particle have properties?

I have trouble imagining how two point-particles can have different properties. And how can finite mass, and finite information (ie spin, electric charge etc.) be stored in 0 volume? Not only that, ...
9
votes
2answers
662 views

Is everything made of massless particles?

Photons have no mass. Yet they interact gravitationally, as all energy does, with other energetic and massive particles. This means that if you put multiple photons in a system, you get something that ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Why do physicists believe that particles are pointlike?

String theory gives physicists reason to believe that particles are 1-dimensional strings because the theory has a purpose - unifying gravity with the gauge theories. So why is it that it's popular ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do quarks have a fractional charge?

I am aware that evidence exists that strongly suggests the existence of quarks and do not doubt it. It is just simply really weird to me that they can have a fractional charge. While other ...
8
votes
1answer
817 views

Explaining chirality for spin 1/2 particle

I found the following explanation for chirality for spin 1/2 particles here What happens when you rotate a left- vs right-chiral fermion 360 degree about its direction of motion. Both ...
7
votes
2answers
117 views

Can an elementary particle be reduced to its properties?

For instance, is an up quark merely its particular mass, 2/3 electrical charge and 1/2 spin? I was wondering if there was a 1:1 correspondence with a particle and its properties, but I noticed a gluon ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Are atoms made of protons, electrons and neutrinos?

If neutrons decay into proton, electron and (anti)neutrino of electron type, then is it safe to say that atoms are protons, electrons and neutrinos?
6
votes
1answer
243 views

Is color confinement detected?

I'm a graduate student studying QFT. I'm quite interested that is color confinement detected or proved? (both directly and indirectly) Or it is just an assumption?
6
votes
2answers
154 views

What are fundamental dimensions used to describe the physical universe? [closed]

I have heard that the universe can be explained in terms of the four fundamental forces. I have also heard it can be explained in terms such as space, time, energy, mass or even motion. To further ...
6
votes
0answers
583 views

General equation of motion for elementary particles

Elementary particles can be grouped into spin-classes and described by specific equations, see below: Is there a general Lagrangian density from which all these equations can be derived? A ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is a photon technically a set of two particles?

When looking at the classification of massless particles, one finds that there is the (half-integer) quantum number "helicity" $h$. For every possible $h$ there is a certain particle kind. In the case ...
5
votes
1answer
607 views

What does it mean for a particle to have spin of 2? [duplicate]

When I first started to study quantum mechanics, my physics text book told that particles have spin of either 1/2 or -1/2. Then I recently read an article saying that gravitons are expected to be ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

Is ch. 2, sect. 4 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 1 still accurate?

The chapter 2 section 4 of volume 1 is on nuclei and particles. Here are a few things that trouble me. Dr. Feynman says that Another most interesting change in the ideas and philosophy of science ...
5
votes
3answers
98 views

How is the conservation of momentum satisfied in long-range attraction such as electromagnetism and gravity?

I'm not a physicist, but my understanding is that electromagnetism (including attraction between opposite charges) is mediated by the photon, and gravity is probably (hypothetized to be?) mediated by ...
4
votes
2answers
769 views

Why do physicists think that the electron is an elementary particle?

When we first discovered the proton and neutron, I'm sure scientists didn't think that it was made up of quark arrangements, but then we figured they could be and experiments proved that they were. ...
4
votes
2answers
450 views

Is there scale by size of all discovered particles?

Atom: Neutron: Elementary particles: Is there scale by size of all discovered particles? From neutron and proton to electron and to boson? Compare to each other, like this I have found ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

How does electron spin change instantaneously without violating inertia principle?

The inertia in one of the main properties of matter. That is why all process in macro world do not happen instantaneously. What I do not understand is how we should apply this general idea of inertia ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

Why should I believe that “elementary” particles are indeed elementary?

Atoms were once thought to be indivisible (i.e. have no substructure), until it was discovered that they are made of protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons in turn are made of quarks, and that's ...
4
votes
0answers
229 views

Nature of Microscopic space-time

I am going through the introductory chapter's of Schwinger's Source theory. He writes, It [Source Theory] is a phenomenological theory, designed to describe the observed particles. No speculations ...
3
votes
2answers
545 views

What experiment(s) have or can refute the existence of an electron-particle “system” over the separate existence of a neutron within itself?

This question actually came about from a discussion of another question posed here The neutron is known to be comprised of an electron and a proton, and there are observations that the neutron can be ...
3
votes
4answers
959 views

Must Matter Particles Have A Hard Edge?

It's my understanding that electrons are particles, and it's also my understanding that their location while orbiting an atom cannot be determined precisely and must be determined by statistics and ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Magnetic moment of uncharged particles

As we know that particles, only having charge, can have magnetic moment, then how particle like neutrino (having mass) can have magnetic moment? Don't bother about neutron because it has charge ...
3
votes
1answer
479 views

Why no fundamental force from the Higgs? [duplicate]

I wish to ask whether I understand the following correctly. This universe seems to have six fundamental elementary bosons namely photon $(\gamma),\ W$-bosons$(W^+,W^-),$ gluon$(g),\ Z$-boson $(Z)$, ...
3
votes
2answers
43 views

Is the only difference between two particles their location and momentum?

Maybe this would be better suited for philosphy.se, if so, then let me know and i'll move it, but this seemed like a reasonable place to start. Let's start with my motivations for asking such a ...
3
votes
1answer
595 views

Is it dangerous if one elementary particle with high energy penetrates our brain?

We might be killed if a bullet penetrates our brain. How about an elementary particle moving with high energy penetrates our brain? Assume that we can have exactly a single elementary particle for ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

Rigorous mathematical formalism of particle physics

Can anyone provide me with a rigorous mathematical definition of the fundamental particles (all fundamental bosons and fermions), reflecting the analogy of action of groups with interaction of ...
3
votes
1answer
19 views

LArTPC muon sign determination

What are some techniques for muon sign determination (w/o magnetic field) for fully contained muons, using statistical analysis? Especially because liquid Argon time projection chambers' sign ...
3
votes
0answers
40 views

Are the electric charges of an electron and a proton equal or approximately equal? [duplicate]

I read in Auletta's quantum mechanics (section 11.2) that the charge of the proton is, apart from the sign, approximately equal to that of the electron.. What ...
3
votes
0answers
66 views

Can the mass of a SUSY particle depend on the process it participates in?

I believe that mass is property of every particle,as well as spin etc.Now I'm interested in SUSY particles in cMSSM model.Can it be,that mass of a SUSY particle (at one point in five parameter space) ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Thickness of electromagnetic waves

Radio wave photons and light photons have a different wavelength. But they also appear to have a much different "thickness" in that light photons "fit" cleanly through small pigeonholes, where the ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Is it possible to measure the radius of an elementary particle?

The only way to describe the electron radius that I found in literature is the "classical electron radius". Is it possible to experimentally measure this? Is there a better way to describe the ...
2
votes
2answers
210 views

Parity, how many dimensions to switch?

Parity is described in Wikipedia as flipping of one dimension, or - in the special case of three dimensional physics - as flipping all of them. Is there any simple rule that generalises both for any ...
2
votes
1answer
169 views

What is the difference between QFT and elementary particle physics?

I'm a little unclear as to how QFT differs from Elementary particle physics. They both use pictorials of Feynman graphs, is it that Elementary particle physics assumes the point particle perspective, ...
2
votes
2answers
52 views

How to prove or disprove that elementary particle has no spatial extention?

We are told that elementary particles has dimension zero and take up no space. For example, the electron is a point particle that have a negative unit charge, also has mass and spin, but no size. My ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

What are the “generations of matter”?

After a series of clicks on New Scientist and Wikipedia, I ended up on the Wiki article for "generations of matter", and I didn't quite understand it. I believe (and this may be wrong) that different ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

Self-energy of electron from classical reasoning

If it takes energy to group charge together(self energy) how can it be possible for every single electrons, etc, to have exactly same amount of charge? (think of if we hold some sand in our hand, then ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

Asymmetry in muon energies of public CMS dimuon event data

CMS published for educational purposes (caveat) 100.000 dimuon events: https://cms-docdb.cern.ch/cgi-bin/PublicDocDB//ShowDocument?docid=11583 As one easily sees, column 4 shows the first muon's ...
2
votes
0answers
61 views

Nature of particle spectra at ALICE

I have a question regarding the nature of the particle spectrum at ALICE as a function of momentum. The spectra in question can be seen here. My question is, why is it that the particle spectrum in ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

Young Tableau Projectors: Does the order of symmetric and anti-symmetric projectors matter?

Given a Young Tableau we find the irreducible basis of an arbitrary tensor by projecting, The projectors are usually defined as first symmetrise over the row entries and then anti-symmetrise over the ...
2
votes
0answers
152 views

Parton Distribution Functions, average cross section of the nucleon

Say we are given the scattering cross section for neutrinos from $d$ and $\bar{u}$ quarks as $\frac{d\sigma^{d}}{dQ^2}=\frac{G_F^2}{\pi}$, $\frac{d\sigma^{\bar{u}}}{dQ^2}=\frac{G_F^2}{\pi} (1-y)^2$, ...
1
vote
6answers
250 views

Do the particles made in a collider exist outside the collider?

Below is the transcript of a section from Demystifying the Higgs Boson with Leonard Susskind. Around 1:02:23 Susskind says that the heaviest of the fermions is called the top quark. Top quark is ...
1
vote
2answers
156 views

Can we make usable energy from subnuclear particles?

I understand mass and energy are the same, but in this question I will be talking about mass being turned into usable energy (electricity/heat/etc). We can make our energy through chemical reactions ...
1
vote
2answers
645 views

A basic confusion about what is an atom

Wikipedia defines atom as The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. and defines electron as: The ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Conservation of Baryon number for this proton decay

The conservation law requires that Baryon number be conserved; that is, the sum of the Baryon number before and after a reaction/ decay must always equal the sum of the Baryon number after the ...