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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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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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 ...
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644 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?
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180 views

The delay between neutrinos and gammas in a supernova, and the absolute mass scale of neutrinos

In a supernova explosion (of some type), there is a huge amount of neutrinos and gamma rays produced by a runaway nuclear reaction at the stellar core. In a recent comment, dmckee noted that the ...
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914 views

Cross-section in relativistic limit: Fermi's golden rule still valid?

In order to calculate the cross-section of an interaction process the following formula is often used for first approximations: $$ \sigma = \frac {2\pi} {\hbar\,v_i} \left| ...
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102 views

Higgs Field - Is its discovery truly “around the corner”?

Rather surprised I haven't seen many questions or discussion regarding the rumored confirmation of the Higgs field. As I understand it, the energies where they saw things were actually quite a bit ...
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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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553 views

Why can the Euler beta function be interpreted as a scattering amplitude?

The Wikipedia article on the Veneziano Amplitude claims that the Euler beta function can be interpretted as a scattering amplitude. Why is this? In another word, when the Euler beta function is ...
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245 views

“S-duality” between confinement and the Higgs mechanism?

I feel picked by the second to last sentence in this answer to a question about what would happen if EM and QCD were spontaneously broken, which says "In fact, there is a sense in theoretical ...
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219 views

Is there any way to distinguish experimentally gauge mediation from gravity mediation in an unambiguous way?

There are lots of models of gravity mediated SUSY breaking with various spectra as well as various general gauge mediation models. Are there any "smoking gun" experimental singnatures that could ...
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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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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? $$\sum_{m=1}^{\infty } \frac{1}{10^{26}(m^2+1)_{2m}}=$$ ...
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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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114 views

ATLAS Higgs Interpretation

I came across this abstract, and I am curious as to what the ATLAS Team has actually discovered: Abstract Motivated by the result of the Higgs boson candidates at LEP with a mass of about ...
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566 views

Neutron to antiproton decay

Would it be possible for a neutron to lose a positron and become an antiproton? Or would would it need to be the decay of a antineutron to antiproton instead?
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943 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, ...
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162 views

Observed composition of UHE cosmic rays

How much is known about the composition of ultra high energy cosmic rays (say $E>10^{20}\text{ eV}$)? I get the impression that the particles are often assumed to be protons or other heavier ...
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589 views

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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608 views

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 ...
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415 views

Are right handed neutrinos actually antineutrinos and vice versa?

Is it experimentally ruled out that right-handed neutrinos are actually antineutrinos, and left-handed antineutrinos are neutrinos ?
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595 views

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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1k views

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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487 views

Hawking radiation and quark confinement

The simple picture of Hawking radiation is that a pair-antiparticle pair is produced near the event horizon, then one falls into the black hole while the other escapes. Suppose the particles are ...
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441 views

What does the latest $B_s^0\rightarrow \mu^+\mu^-$ results mean for SUSY?

A paper from the LHCb collaboration just came out last week, stating basically that the $B_s^0\rightarrow\mu^+\mu^-$ decay matches standard model predictions, and people are already shouting that SUSY ...
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483 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 ...
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393 views

Derivation of the effective potential between a quark and an anti-quark

Typically in particle physics books (not in QFT books!) I have often seen this statement that the potential between a heavy quark and its anti-quark can be "empirically" represented as $V(r) = ...
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111 views

Why do fermions come in generations, but not bosons?

Why does the $1/2$ spin of fundamental fermions (electrons, quarks, and neutrinos) split them into three variants that differ only in mass, while the integer spins of massless fundamental bosons (e.g. ...
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477 views

About defining “baryons” and “mesons”

I want to understand the proof of the claims (of the construction as well as of its uniqueness) of gauge singlet states given around equation 2.13 (page 10) of this paper. Also does the listing of ...
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249 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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Higgs boson and string theory

Assuming Higgs is found at 125 GeV.Is there any direct or indirect consequence on string theory ? Will it be a blow to string theory or models employing string theory ? ...
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3k views

Why is the Higgs boson spin 0?

Why is the Higgs boson spin 0? Detailed equation-form answers would be great, but if possible, some explanation of the original logic behind this feature of the Higgs mechanism (e.g., "to provide ...
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699 views

Do particle accelerators produce (dangerous) radiation?

I was under the impression that particle accelerators were pretty harmless, but some article said that they produce harmful radiation when you're in the tunnel. Given that the Internet... isn't always ...
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711 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 ...
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239 views

The life of proton

I have two questions regarding protons 1) Wikipedia says Mean lifetime of a proton $>2.1×10^{29}$ years (stable) Obviously this means practically nothing happens to a proton, but what does ...
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How was the Oh-My-God particle observed?

How exactly was the Oh-My-God particle (ultra-high energy cosmic ray) observed and its energy measured?
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Is there an accepted analogy/conceptual aid for the Higgs field?

Is there an accepted analogy / conceptual aid for the Higgs field? In Physics there are many accepted conceptual aids such as * Schrödinger's cat * Maxwell's Demon * I'm sure I'm missing ...
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322 views

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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454 views

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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510 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 ...
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380 views

Could spontaneous symmetry breaking happen again in our universe?

It is generally believed that $10^{-35}$ seconds after the Big Bang, the symmetry of a GUT was broken and after $10^{-12}$ seconds the electroweak force was broken: \begin{equation} \mathrm{SU(2)} ...
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435 views

“Weakness” of gravitational force

I often hear that gravitational force is much "weaker" than electroweak and strong forces. But how can you compare the strength of interactions without the parameters like mass, charge on which it ...
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48 views

Dual Pairs in Four Dimensions

Following the conversation here, I am wondering if anyone knows of an example of dual pair with 4-dimensional N=1 SUSY which relates a non-Abelian gauge theory on one side to a theory with a ...
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215 views

Why is it common to plot $xG(x,Q^2)$ and not simply $G(x,Q^2)$?

I'm trying to understand the modern description of high-energy scattering processes involving hadrons in the initial states. The phenomenological parton distributions functions play a central role, ...
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143 views

What are the main algorithms the LHC particle detectors use to reconstruct decay pathways?

I am just starting to look into how we understand the data from particle collisions. My question is, what are the algorithms or ways that these detectors interpret the data? Are there standard ...
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Why does the weak force distinguish left and right handedness?

I'm wondering why the weak interaction only affects left-handed particles (and right-handed antiparticles). Before someone says "because thats just the way nature is" :-), let me explain what I find ...
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424 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 ...
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2k views

What is the significance of the QCD scale parameter $\Lambda$?

I see that it appears as a constant in the relation for the running of the strong coupling constant. What is its significance? Does it have to be established by experiment? Is it somehow a scale for ...
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236 views

Why is fundamental physics taught in terms of particles?

According to this paper, there can be no relativistic quantum theory of localizeable particles ("relativity plus quantum mechanics exclusively requires a field ontology"). Sean Caroll has also argued ...
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287 views

What dark matter can AMS currently find (or exclude)?

The rumor mill is running again, this time it's about the AMS experiment (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) that's going to make a major announcement soon. I suppose they are looking for peaks in gamma ...
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ATLAS and CMS calorimeters

I was reading this interesting recent review on arxiv about particle identification: Particle Identification In figure 2, there is an interesting comparison between the CMS and ATLAS calorimeter ...