Particle physics is the study of the fundamental forces of nature as they are embodied in the interactions of elementary and composite particles at high energies and short time and distance scales.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

16
votes
2answers
3k views

Particle physics plots

I'm having a hard time understanding what some of the plots that are presented by ATLAS/CMS actually show. See for example: http://resonaances.blogspot.com/2011/07/higgs-wont-come-out-of-closet.html ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How do $\pi^0$ particles exist?

I have been taught that the $\pi^0$ particle contains either an up quark and an anti-up quark or a down and an anti-down. How can these exist without annihilating? Also, it is its own antiparticle, ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How can neutrinos oscillate though the lepton flavors have differing masses?

Since the total mass-energy for the neutrino presumably does not change when a neutrino changes lepton flavor, though the mass is different, what compensates for the gain or loss of mass? Does the ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What actually happens when an anti-matter projectile collides with matter?

I'm trying to understand what would really happen when large quantities (e.g., 10g) of anti-matter collide with matter. The normal response is that they'd annihilate each other and generate an ...
8
votes
3answers
773 views

What allows the modified Urca process to work at lower density than direct Urca in neutron star cooling?

The dominant method of neutron star cooling is neutrino emission. There are two regimes usually presented, the "direct Urca" and "modified Urca" processes, each of which are sequences of neutron decay ...
13
votes
1answer
406 views

How are neutrino beams emitted at CERN?

As far I know they come from accelerator collisions, but I have read confusing things like magnetically focused. How could neutrinos be guided magnetically if they aren't affected by the ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Relativistic speed/energy relation. Is this correct?

The relativistic energy-momentum equation is: $$E^2 = (pc)^2 + (mc^2)^2.$$ Also, we have $pc = Ev/c$, so we get: $$E = mc^2/(1-v^2/c^2)^{1/2}.$$ Now, accelerating a proton to near the speed if ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Is all matter made of virtual particles?

This article in New Scientist says that all matter is actually virtual particles popping in and out of existence and nothing more. is this correct?
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there old aged particles?

To measure the lifetime of a specific particle one needs to look at very many such particles in order to calculate the average. It cannot matter when the experimentalist actually starts his stopwatch ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Hypercharge for $U(1)$ in $SU(2)\times U(1)$ model

I understand that the fundamental representation of $U(1)$ amounts to a multiplication by a phase factor, e.g. EM. I thought that when it is extended to higher dimensional representations, it would ...
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What happened to the idea of tachyonic or other superluminal neutrinos?

While hunting around for information about the recent OPERA measurement that hints at superluminal neutrinos, I discovered that this idea was actually considered back in the 1980s. Wikipedia lists as ...
9
votes
1answer
352 views

Baryogenesis only at the Planck scale, or none at all?

I can think of three general ways of explaining why the universe contains more matter than antimatter: (1) Near the Planck time, the universe had zero baryon asymmetry, but at some later time, ...
8
votes
2answers
655 views

What is the fastest process or shortest time in nature?

We know about some events that happen very quickly. For example, the dielectric relaxation time is about $10^{-14}\, \mathrm{seconds}$. I'm interested in other processes that switch extremely fast ...
13
votes
5answers
671 views

Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in Experiments?

As I hope is obvious to everyone reading this, the universe contains more matter than antimatter, presumably because of some slight asymmetry in the amounts of the two generated during the Big Bang. ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Do particles and anti-particles attract each other?

Do particles and anti-particles attract each other? From the very basic understanding that they are created out of nothing mutually and collide to annihilate each other seems to indicate this happens ...
13
votes
2answers
492 views

Is there any theory for origination of charge?

We have a theory of a Higgs field that describes how a particle gets mass. Since mass and charge both are intrinsic properties of a particle, is there any similar theory for how particles get electric ...
9
votes
1answer
763 views

Universality in Weak Interactions

I'm currently preparing for an examination of course in introductory (experimental) particle physics. One topic that we covered and that I'm currently revising is the universality in weak ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

What would happen if you put your hand in front of the 7 TeV beam at LHC?

Some speculation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NMqPT6oKJ8 Is there a possibility it would pass 'undetected' through your hand, or is it certain death? Can you conclude it to be vital, or ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Does photon have size measurement because of its particle nature

Does photon have size measurement because of its particle nature like electron's 3.86*10^-13m etc..
1
vote
0answers
107 views

Do particles travel backward and forward in time? [duplicate]

All these classical ideas are pointless and obsolete today, because in quantum mechanics, the particles are completely different objects, defined by quantum motion of fields, not by the location of ...
1
vote
2answers
377 views

Why are atoms particles?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of particle is as follows: "A component of the physical world smaller than the atom." I read an article in NewScientist and it said "...all particles from ...
1
vote
2answers
267 views

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-?

Where to find cross section data for e- + p -> p + e-? PDG's cross section data listing does not include it.
8
votes
2answers
847 views

How do you find spin of a particle from experimental data?

So I was wondering, with all this Higgs talk going on, they just detected a particle with a mass of 125 GeV (CMS) or 126.5 GeV (ATLAS). But they still don't know what it is, since there is tons of ...
6
votes
2answers
647 views

What is the percentage of useful energy do we get from matter-antimatter annihilation?

This is a theoretical question since we haven't made enough antimatter to try it in reality of course. But I am asking about the physics part in this. Also, by "useful energy" I mean the energy we ...
4
votes
2answers
410 views

More on matter and anti-matter

1.) Does every particle that has rest mass also have an anti-particle with which it would annihilate? 2.) Does annihilation only occur between like particles? For example what happens if a ...
16
votes
1answer
8k views

Phase shifts in scattering theory

I have been studying scattering theory in Sakurai's quantum mechanics. The phase shift in scattering theory has been a major conceptual and computational stumbling block for me. How (if at all) does ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

What's the difference between helicity and chirality?

When a particle spins in the same direction as its momentum, it has right helicity, and left helicity otherwise. Neutrinos, however, have some kind of inherent helicity called chirality. But they can ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the details around the origin of the string theory?

It is well-known even among the lay public (thanks to popular books) that string theory first arose in the field of strong interactions where certain scattering amplitudes had properties that could be ...
18
votes
2answers
9k views

What's the difference between inclusive and exclusive decays?

For example, why is the semileptonic $B$ decay $B \to X\ell\nu$ inclusive? I can't find any definition of these frequently used terms, strange.
25
votes
4answers
2k views

What is your simplest explanation of the string theory?

How would you explain string theory to non physicists such as myself? I'm specially interested on how plausible is it and what is needed to successfully prove it?
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Why you need a graviton when you have the higgs boson?

Since I studied General Relativity I had this question running on my mind. As I see it (just taking lectures of Quantum Field Theory right now) "Why you need a gauge boson for gravity when the higgs ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics?

How are Monte Carlo simulations used in experimental high energy physics? Particularly in studying detectors limitations (efficiencies?) and data analysis. I will appreciate giving a simple example ...
4
votes
2answers
736 views

The concept of particle in QFT

I never learnt QFT and I apologize for my (probably) elementary question. Somebody told me that in QFT a particle is viewed as an irregularity in the field. On the other hand, in an article in ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Have I discovered how to calculate the proton's mass using only integers?

Could it be possible that the mass of the proton can be calculated by a series of integer sequences? Or is this just a curiosity? $$\sum_{m=1}^{\infty } \frac{1}{10^{26}(m^2+1)_{2m}}=$$ ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it pions or gluons that mediate the strong force between nucleons?

From my recent experience teaching high school students I've found that they are taught that the strong force between nucleons is mediated by virtual-pion exchange, whereas between quarks it's gluons. ...
7
votes
1answer
703 views

Is there a concise-but-thorough statement of the Standard Model?

I’m a grad student in high-energy physics. I’m familiar enough with the Standard Model, but I’ve always wondered whether there existed a canonical statement of, effectively, “what we talk about when ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

If the electron is point like, then what is the significance of the classical radius of the electron?

What is the physical meaning/significance of the classical radius of the electron if we know from experiments that the electron is point like? Is there similarly a classical radius of the photon? The ...
5
votes
3answers
535 views

Cosmic ray hazards

The Pierre Auger Observatory site mentions the detection of a 3E20 eV (48 J) cosmic ray whose energy, well above the GZK cutoff, was based on an analysis of its atmospheric shower. This was equivalent ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What defines the mass of elementary particle?

The electron is particle. The mass of electron is $9.10938215(45)\times 10^{−31}\, {\rm kg}$. But why is the mass exactly what it is? What in physics defines the mass of elementary particle?
3
votes
1answer
698 views

What is “charge discreteness”?

I assume it is some kind of quantity. Google only made things more confusing. I get that it has something to do with circuits. I also get what a discrete charge is. In fact, I thought charges ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Why isn't Hydrogen's electron pulled into the nucleus? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them? Why don’t electrons crash into the nuclei they “orbit”? From what I learned in chemistry, ...
0
votes
1answer
143 views

Is everything in the physical world composite?

In philosophy there is a principle that anything composite cannot have existed eternally, since it is preceded by its parts and whatever forces assembled it. Is everything in the physical world ...
68
votes
5answers
8k views

How literally should you take “The Higgs boson gives other particles mass”?

A standard phrase in popular discussions of the Higgs boson is that "it gives particles mass". To what extent is this a reasonable, pop-science, level of description of the Higgs boson and it's ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the physical interpretation of second quantization?

One way that second quantization is motivated in an introductory text (QFT, Schwartz) is: The general solution to a Lorentz-invariant field equation is an integral over plane waves (Fourier ...
28
votes
1answer
1k views

Status of experimental searches for tachyons?

Now that the dust has settled on the 2011 superluminal neutrino debacle at OPERA, I'm interested in understanding the current status of experimental searches for neutrinos. Although the OPERA claim ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How to determine the mass of a quark?

As far as I know quarks are never found in isolation, so how can we determine their rest mass?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Can a third type of electrical charge exist?

Upon reading my book on physics, it mentions that there are only two discovered types of electric charges. I wonder if there could be a third type of elusive charge, and what type of effects could it ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the definition of colour (the quantum state)?

I heard somewhere that quarks have a property called 'colour' - what does this mean?