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32
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
31
votes
7answers
2k views

How can the unstable particles of the standard model be considered particles in their own right if they immediately decay into stable particles?

How can the unstable particles of the standard model be considered particles in their own right if they immediately decay into stable particles? It would appear to a layman such as myself that these ...
28
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
7k 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?
17
votes
3answers
786 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.
16
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
7answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Intrinsic structure of electron

The electron contains finite negative charge. The same charges repel each other. What makes electron stable and why does it not burst? Is it a law of nature that the electron charge is the smallest ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do physicists say that elementary particles are point particles?

For example, an electron, it has mass and charge, but is considered to have point mass and point charge, but why? Why are they assumed to have charge and mass in a single infinitely small point in ...
10
votes
2answers
777 views

Why couldn't the decay $\pi^- \to e^- + \bar\nu_e$ occur if electrons were massless?

If we assume that electrons (just like neutrinos) are massless, why can’t the decay $\pi^- \rightarrow e^- + \bar{\nu}_e$ occur under the weak interaction?
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
899 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
170 views

In a universe with four spatial dimensions would there be elementary particles with intrinsic isoclinic spin?

Elementary particles have an intrinsic property called spin which is different from classical spin as it does not involve actual rotation and the magnitude of spin cannot be changed but particles with ...
8
votes
1answer
1k 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
140 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
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
278 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
256 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
740 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
378 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
1answer
231 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
641 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
215 views

Can quarks be considered real and elementary?

In our current theories all hadrons are made up of quarks and gluons. This view reduces considerably the big family of hadrons by providing a very logical structure in which all quantum properties ...
4
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
81 views

Is there a theory where there are (recursively) infinitely smaller particles?

So I read that electrons are just points, with no mass, and furthermore, protons look like they have some "size" but that's really 3 "point-like" quarks. We first thought atoms were the smallest ...
4
votes
2answers
910 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
941 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
221 views

Are electrons simple? Do they have any inner structure? [duplicate]

The Planck length is far smaller than the classical electron radius. Could the electron have structure?
4
votes
0answers
236 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
4answers
1k 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
6answers
1k views

Good book about elementary particles for high school students?

I need a good book about elementary particles. I am a high school student and don't want anything to technical. I read a brief history of time and the universe in a nutshell but I want something that ...
3
votes
1answer
628 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
450 views

Does the existence (now proved) of gravitational waves imply the existence of Gravitons?

I studied the theoretical part about the Gravitational waves in General Relativity (linearization of gravity and small perturbations of the metric and so on). But I was wondering about: since ...
3
votes
2answers
81 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
706 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
40 views

Are there experimental arguments against elementary particles to have wobbling magnetic moment

Elementary particles having angular momentum and magnetic moment are observed or assummed as these are either always parallel or antiparallel. This condition could be satisfied even the instantaneous ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

How do we know that elementary particles possess definite parity?

As I was reading Griffiths' "Introduction to Elementary Particles" Wiley 2008, on chapter 4 "Symmetries", the question stroke me. The same as Parity operator (inversion in 3-dimensional space) we ...
3
votes
1answer
230 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
0answers
71 views

Why do we say that elementary particles are pointlike? [duplicate]

When people discuss quantum field theory in a popular context, they say that fundamental particles, such as quarks and electrons, are pointlike, with zero size. However, I don't think this is what ...
3
votes
0answers
41 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
68 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
136 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
2answers
613 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
158 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
284 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
306 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, ...