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.

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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 ...
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5answers
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 ...
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611 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 ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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638 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 ...
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104 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 ...
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2answers
249 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.
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5answers
827 views

Speed of neutrinos

Everyone knows it is close to $c$, but how close? What are the recent results?
6
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2answers
505 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 ...
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2answers
383 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 ...
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2answers
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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.
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4answers
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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?
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703 views

Are there massless bosons at scales above electroweak scale?

Spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking (i.e. $SU(2)\times U(1)\to U(1)_{em}$ ) is at scale about 100 Gev. So, for Higgs mechanism, gauge bosons $Z$ & $W$ have masses about 100 GeV. But before ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
16
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1answer
5k views

Are all electrons identical?

Why should two sub-atomic (or elementary particle) - say electrons need to have identical static properties - identical mass, identical charge? Why can't they differ between each other by a very ...
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824 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. ...
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3answers
4k 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. ...
13
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3answers
527 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.
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5answers
583 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. ...
10
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649 views

Neutrino Oscillations and Conservation of Momentum

I would like to better understand how neutrino oscillations are consistent with conservation of momentum because I'm encountering some conceptual difficulties when thinking about it. I do have a ...
8
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1answer
306 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
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2answers
995 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
6
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1answer
662 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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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3answers
520 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 ...
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618 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 ...
4
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1answer
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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..
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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
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1answer
542 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 ...
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2answers
315 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 ...
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747 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 ...
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1answer
130 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 ...
0
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1answer
5k 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, ...
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5answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
25
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1answer
817 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 ...
20
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3answers
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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2answers
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What is the definition of colour (the quantum state)?

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

Wave/particle-duality as result of taking different limits of a QFT

There is an account on dualities in quantum field theories and string theories by Polchinski from last week http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5704 At the end of page 4, he writes the wave/particle ...
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393 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 ...
25
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4answers
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“Slightly off-shell”?

I'm not new to QFT, yet there are some matters which are quite puzzling to me. I often come across the statement that real particles (the ones we actually measure in experiments, not virtual ones) are ...
15
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2answers
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Please explain the physics of a Cloud Chamber

A friend of mine was telling me about building a cloud chamber while he was in graduate school. As I understand it, this allows you to "see" interactions caused by high energy particles going through ...
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4answers
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Why can't a single photon produce an electron-positron pair?

In reading through old course material, I found the assignment (my translation): Show that a single photon cannot produce an electron-positron pair, but needs additional matter or light quanta. ...
5
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692 views

Why absence of electron is called hole?

I am having hard time in understanding the concept of holes: If there is no electron than how can it be a hole? For a moment lets assume absence of electron is termed as hole but how can this absent ...
12
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431 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 ...
8
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377 views

How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter?

Antimatter is like matter on opposite day: it has the same properties as the stuff that makes up planets, stars and galaxies, but one vital piece is different—its charge. The universe supposedly ...