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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Correlation between outstanding hints in experimental particle physics

The 115 GeV ATLAS Higgs with enhanced diphoton decays has gone away but there are several other recent tantalizing hints relevant for particle physics, namely CoGeNT's 7-8 GeV dark matter particle ...
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What is anti-matter?

Matter-- I guess I know what it is ;) somehow, at least intuitively. So, I can feel it in terms of the weight when picking something up. It may be explained by gravity which is itself is defined by ...
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Accelerating particles to speeds infinitesimally close to the speed of light?

I'm in a freshmen level physics class now, so I don't know much, but something I heard today intrigued me. My TA was talking about how at the research facility he worked at, they were able to ...
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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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What happens to matter in a standard model with zero Higgs VEV?

Suppose you reset the parameters of the standard model so that the Higgs field average value is zero in the vacuum, what would happen to standard matter? If the fundamental fermions go from a finite ...
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What Do We Get From Having Higher Generations of Particles?

Background: I have written a pop-science book explaining quantum mechanics through imaginary conversations with my dog-- the dog serves as a sort of reader surrogate, popping in occasionally to ask ...
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3answers
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Decay of massless particles

We don't normally consider the possibility that massless particles could undergo radioactive decay. There are elementary arguments that make it sound implausible. (A bunch of the following is ...
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2k views

Why do we need high energy to explore small dimensions?

I am taking a quantum physics class, and for the life of me, I can not remember why we would need a vast amount of energy to understand the microscopic universe.
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What would happen if Large Hadron Collider would collide electrons?

After some reading about the Large Hadron Collider and it's very impressive instruments to detect and investigate the collision results, there is a remaining question. What would happen if the ...
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Could we make things out of newly discovered particles?

Right now, all of the "stuff" that has been created in the world is made of protons, electrons, and neutrons. I'm aware that particles other than these have much shorter lifetimes. But I've also heard ...
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Did the researchers at Fermilab find a fifth force?

Please consider the publication Invariant Mass Distribution of Jet Pairs Produced in Association with a W boson in $p\bar{p}$ Collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 1.96$ TeV by the CDF-Collaboration, ...
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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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Does Kaluza-Klein theory successfully unify GR and EM? Why can't it be extended to the Standard Model gauge group?

As a quick disclaimer, I thought this might be a better place to ask than Physics.SE. I already searched there with "kaluza" and "klein" keywords to find an answer, but without luck. As background, ...
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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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How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum of a fundamental particle?

If I've got an instance of a fundamental particle, how can I separate out the measurements of these four quantities? (I think) I understand the theory behind them, and why the particles in the ...
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2answers
819 views

Why Cronin Effect Happens?

I'm looking for explanation on Cronin effect but unfortunately there's no Wikipedia entry or self-contained paper to start from. The statement of this effect is that: "At leading order, multiple ...
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Is there any way to annihilate matter without the use of anti-matter?

Is there any way to annihilate matter without the use of anti-matter? And vice versa? I mean, for example is it possible to totally convert the mass of a proton into "pure energy" without use an ...
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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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1answer
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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 ...
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Spallation neutron generation and pure U-238 reactors

Main question: Is it possible to achieve net power generation based on linear proton accelerator and U-238 target? In the proposed reactor design there is a proton beam with energy ~10 GeV, and on ...
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Infrared-free QED and Higgsless standard model phenomenology

This is one of those "what if" fantasy world type questions. I like hard sci-fi so please no "well, you changed one thing about the world so now anything goes." :) What if the Higgs had no vev? That ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Speed of neutrinos

Everyone knows it is close to $c$, but how close? What are the recent results?
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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 ...
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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. ...
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3answers
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Mathematics of AdS/CFT

To date, what is the most mathematically precise formulation of the AdS/CFT correspondence, and what are the most robust tests of the conjecture?
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442 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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Origin of lepton/quark generations?

What theoretical explanations exist for the fact that there are three generations of leptons and quarks? I'm not so much asking why there are exactly 3 generations, but rather what makes electron, ...
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Bound states in QCD: Why only bound states of 2 or 3 quarks and not more?

Why when people/textbooks talk about strong interaction, they talk only about bound states of 2 or 3 quarks to form baryons and mesons? Does the strong interaction allow bound states of more than 3 ...
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1answer
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realization of: CFT generating fuction = AdS partition function

An important aspect of the AdS/CFT correspondence is the recipe to compute correlation functions of a boundary operator $\mathcal{O} $ in terms of the supergravity fields in the interior of the ...
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4answers
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How to explain the weak force to a layman?

I'm trying to explain in simple terms what the weak interaction does, but I'm having trouble since it doesn't resemble other forces he's familiar with and I haven't been able to come up (or find on ...
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1answer
539 views

Could LEP II have discovered a 125GeV Higgs?

LEP II eliminated the Higgs up to 114.5GeV. If it had been run for longer could it have detected a Higgs at 125GeV? I Googled for this without any luck, though I did find a comment that LEP II topped ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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. ...
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Are elementary particles ultimate fate of black holes?

From the "no hair theorem" we know that black holes have only 3 characteristic external observables, mass, electric charge and angular momentum (except the possible exceptions in the higher ...
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What is the current status of the anomalous muon magnetic moment?

Many years ago, a discrepancy was found between the experimentally measured value of the muon magnetic moment, and the theoretically calculated value. Shockingly, most physicists were blase about it. ...
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Why do leptons and quarks mix?

Is the fact that weak eigenstates are not mass eigenstates completely arbitrary? Or is there a deeper reason for the existence of the PMNS and CKM matrices?
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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Instanton Moduli Space with a Surface Operator

I would like to understand the mathematical language which is relevant to instanton moduli space with a surface operator. Alday and Tachikawa stated in 1005.4469 that the following moduli spaces are ...
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1answer
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How come random matrices can predict energy spectra of heavy atoms?

Some of the applications of random matrices is to find the spectra of heavy atoms in nuclear physics which are usually difficult to find otherwise. How can starting from randomness of some kind, ...
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4answers
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What is the need for the Higgs mechanism and electroweak unification?

The Higgs mechanism allows massless fields to acquire mass through their coupling to a scalar field. But if the masses cannot be predicted because the couplings have to be fixed, what really is the ...
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115 GeV, 170 GeV, and the noncommutative standard model

Several years ago, noncommutative geometry was used to describe the standard model, somehow yielding a prediction of 170 GeV for the mass of the Higgs boson, a prediction which was falsified a few ...
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What are the alternatives to the Higgs mechanism?

Can someone summarize, with references if possible, all of the alternatives to the simplest model (that requires only a single scalar Higgs field with the Mexican Hat potential) of spontaneous ...
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0answers
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Relation among anomaly, unitarity bound and renormalizability

There is something I'm not sure about that has come up in a comment to other question: Why do we not have spin greater than 2? It's a good question--- the violation of renormalizability is linked ...
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3answers
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Why are quark types known as flavors?

There are six types of quarks, known as flavors. Why where these types called flavors? Why do the flavors have such odd names (up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom)?
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3answers
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What does it mean that the neutral pion is a mixture of quarks?

The quark composition of the neutral pion ($\pi^0$) is $\frac{u\bar{u} - d\bar{d}}{\sqrt{2}}$. What does this actually mean? I think it's bizarre that a particle doesn't have a definite composition. ...
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Why don't we normally see the Higgs boson?

I am a physics student and my dad just asked me about the Higgs Boson. I've told him the little I know, that the Higgs field is a field that is supposed to give mass to elementary particles, and that ...
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2answers
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What are bootstraps?

I've heard occasional mentions of the term "bootstraps" in connection with the S Matrix. I believe it applies to an old approach that was tried in the 1960s, whereby - well I'm not sure - but it ...
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3answers
776 views

So, no Higgs boson then?

There are a lot of articles being posted in the wake of a CERN announcement that they have not observed the Higgs boson in the range of energies so far searched (between 145 and 466 billion eV), e.g. ...
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trying to understand Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

I am a computer scientist interested in network theory. I have come across the Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) because of its connections to complex networks. What I know about condensation is the ...