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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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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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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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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Weak force: attractive or repulsive?

We are always told that there are the four fundamental forces or interactions of nature: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong forces. We know that gravitation is attractive, that ...
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Black hole “no hair” theorem

The "no hair" theorem (or conjecture), suggests that black holes can be entirely described by their mass, angular momentum and charge. All other details of the BH formation are lost. Is there a ...
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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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600 views

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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518 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 ...
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245 views

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 U-...
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320 views

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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375 views

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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What are the mathematical problems in introducing Spin 3/2 fermions?

Can the physics complications of introducing spin 3/2 Rarita-Schwinger matter be put in geometric (or other) terms readily accessible to a mathematician?
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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 ...
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If atoms never “physically” touch each others, then how does matter-antimatter annihilation happen?

It is known that matter and antimatter annihilate each other when they "touch" each other. And as far as I know, the concept of "touching" as our brain gets it is not true on the atomic level since ...
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Mixing of quarks, neutrinos… and leptons?

This is a quite simple question: quarks do mix (through the CKM matrix), neutrinos do mix (through the PMNS matrix). Then why do charged leptons not mix?
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Why are neutrinos more weakly interacting than light?

When people describe neutrino interactions they describe them as rare/infrequent due to the fact that the neutrinos are electrically neutral and have little mass, if any. Well why then is the photon ...
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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 $AdS_{...
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875 views

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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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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411 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 ...
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576 views

Operator that describes particle detector

In non-relativistic QM, the position of a particle is an observable. In QFT, fields are the observables. However, particles must have some sort of position, otherwise we wouldn't see pictures like the ...
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357 views

What is the 'bump' near $M_{\mu\mu}\approx 30\text{ GeV}$

In this (attached) Summer 2011 plot from CMS (twiki page), they have a plot of the dimuon invariant mass spectrum across 3 orders of magnitude in energy. There seems to be a 'bump' near $M_{\mu\mu}\...
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443 views

As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
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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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598 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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569 views

Is the electromagnetic mass real?

In his Lectures on Physics vol II Ch.28-2 Feynman calculates the field momentum of a moving charged sphere with charge $q$, radius $a$ and velocity $\mathbf{v}$. He finds that the total momentum in ...
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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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872 views

Do particles behave like electromagnetic waves?

From double-slit experiments we know particles have wave-like behavior: they statistically form an interference pattern. My question is: Is this wave-like behavior similar to the photons' behavior? ...
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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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What are quarks made of?

So atoms are formed from protons and neutrons, which are formed from quarks. But where do these quarks come from? What makes them?
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Higgs Boson mass in Electron volts?

Im no physics genius here, I was just interested in the Higgs Boson so I was reading this article : How the Discovery of the Higgs Boson Could Break Physics I came across this Furthermore, ...
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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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Why is stringless supergravity not considered by many to be a candidate theory of quantum gravity?

This paper seems to show that $d=4, N=8$ supergravity is finite. Yet the paper only has three citations in spires, and I certainly haven't heard talk of a new candidate theory of gravity. Why isn'...
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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, ...
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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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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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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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795 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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Resonances in high energy physics

I still do not understand what a resonance precisely is. Is it exactly the same as a particle? Or only an excited state? And why does it make a peak in some diagrams? And which diagrams?
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Use of Monte-Carlo simulation in High-energy Physics

I've been doing some research into the analysis used in particle physics when determining the significance of a finding (e.g. the recent Higgs candidate was announced as a boson in the 125-126 GeV/$c^{...
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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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How does Annihilation work?

How does annihilation work? I'm wondering why matter and antimatter actually annihilates if they come into contact. What exactly happens? Is that a known process? Is it just because of their different ...
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729 views

What is meant by the phrase “the mass is protected by a symmetry”?

In a particle physics context I've heard this phrase used. I guess it means that the mass of a particle is less than you'd naively expect from $E=mc^2$ after computing the momentum uncertainty ...
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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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976 views

Why are “heavier” particles harder to detect than “lighter” ones?

Something I have read multiple times that I've never intuitively understood is that "heavier" particles are harder to detect than "lighter" ones... For example, I quote from Stephen Hawking's "The ...
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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 ...
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Why are there no particles in conformal theories?

In Matt Strassler's recent post (here) he makes the statement that scale invariant (I assume he means conformally invariant, more generally) theories have no particles in them. What's the reason for ...