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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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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681 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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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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577 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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454 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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52 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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222 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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214 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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3k views

What does spin 0 mean exactly?

I heard two definitions: (1) Spin 0 means that the particle has spherical symmetry, without any preferred axis. (2) The spin value tells after which angle of rotation the wave function returns to ...
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816 views

Why should bosons be in the adjoint representation of the gauge group?

Is there a deep mathematical reason for why bosons should be in the adjoint representation of the gauge group rather than any other representation?
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484 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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257 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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290 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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778 views

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 ...
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249 views

The $U(1)$ charge of a representation

My question is about the reduction of a representation of a group $SU(5)$ to irreps of the subgroup $SU(3)\times SU(2) \times U(1)$. For example the weights of the 10 dimensional representation of ...
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149 views

Relating momentum fraction to rapidity in a high-energy collision

It's a well-known result in particle physics that in an underlying interaction like this: assuming $p_0^-,p_{0\perp},m_0\ll p_0^+$, $m_1$ and $m_2$ are small, but $p_{1\perp}$ and $p_{2\perp}$ are ...
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204 views

Why Lorentz group for fields and Poincaré group for particles?

Wigner treatment associates to particles the irreps of the universal covering of the Poincaré group $$\mathbb{R}(1,3)\rtimes SL(2,\mathbb{C}).$$ Why don't we consider finite dimensional ...
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314 views

Gauge symmetries and elementary particles

The Weinberg-Witten theorem (disclaimer: I don't know this wikipedia entry) is usually mentioned as the reason why gravitons may not be composite particles. I do understand the proof of the theorem, ...
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91 views

More forces at low energy?

Just a quick question: In high energy experiments, the fundamental forces are thought to merge into a single force. My question is, in very low energy experiments (very low), do the forces we know ...
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421 views

Did the Feynman heuristic of “simple effects have simple causes” fail for spin statistics?

Someone here recently noted that "The spin-statistics thing isn't a problem, it is a theorem (a demonstrably valid proposition), and it shouldn't be addressed, it should be understood and celebrated." ...
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338 views

Does the ruling out of TeV scale SUSY breaking disfavor grand unification?

One of the arguments in favor of TeV scale SUSY breaking is that it leads to the appropriate running of the gauge coupling strengths leading to grand unification, i.e. $k_Y = \frac{5}{3}$ instead of ...
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2k 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 ...
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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. ...
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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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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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About free quarks and confinement

I simply know that a single free quark does not exist. What is the reason that we can not get a free quark? If we can't get a free quark then what is single-top-quark?
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What is the meaning of the word “particle” in particle physics?

I want to use Matt Strassler's definition of the word "particle" as a specific example: Matt Strassler writes: (1) "...all the elementary “particles” (i.e. quanta) of nature are quanta of waves ...
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If two photons collide, does the resulting particle have zero velocity?

If two photons traveling in opposite directions along the same line collide, will the resulting particle have a velocity of zero relative to the rest of time space in the instant of the collision?
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Virtual particles and physical laws

Recently, I was reading about Hawking Radiation in A Brief History of Time. It says that at no point can all the fields be zero and so there's nothing like empty space(quantum fluctuation etc.). Now, ...
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527 views

Do current models of particle physics explain the chemical properties of elements/compounds?

I have a particle system of seven protons and seven (or sometimes eight) neutrons (each formed by their appropriate quarks, etc.) bound together in a state that can be macroscopically described as a ...
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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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What does the discovery of the Higgs Boson mean for physics?

Will this unite some theories, or cause some other change in physics, and perhaps our undertanding of the universe?
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Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon?

Just a simple question. Does a muon detector on Earth's surface correctly measure the mean lifetime of a muon? I would think the answer is no because most muons detected are created about 15 km above ...
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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 others when they "touch" each others. 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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Why muonium is unstable?

This question is closely related to my previous question Bound states in QED. Muonium is a system of electron and anti-muon. This article in wikipedia claims that muonium is unstable. QUESTION: Why ...
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What if LHC finds SUSY?

Here and on many other forums and blogs people ask the question "What if LHC does not find SUSY?". I would like to ask the opposite. What if it finds it? What would the implications be? Is it going to ...
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901 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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What are particle multiplets in the Standard Model?

The particles of the standard model are often displayed in groupings known as multiplets. I know that this somehow relates to the underlying symmetries of the standard model, which can be viewed as ...
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Particle physics getting started

I know classical physics, quantum mechanics, special relativity, basic nuclear physics. I would like to get into some particle physics. I want to get into that higgs boson, lepton, quark things :D ...
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181 views

Charge of the muon

In the Wikipedia article of Muon, it says ...with unitary negative electric charge of roughly -1 and a spin of 1/2, What are they trying to convey with the "roughly"? Aren't the allowed values ...
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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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674 views

Is the Higgs mechanism a fundamental interaction?

Is the Higgs mechanism a fundamental interaction of the same standing as the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions? If not, is it mediated by the weak interaction? It seems that all the ...
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451 views

Why are higher generation of matter unstable?

My secondary school physics textbook has mentioned that protons and neutrons are made up of down and up quarks in different amounts. It has also mentioned that other quarks exist. It states that ...
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Rank of the Poincare group

There are two Casimirs of the Poincare group: $$ C_1 = P^\mu P_\mu, \quad C_2 = W^\mu W_\mu $$ with the Pauli-Lubanski vector $W_\mu$. This implies the Poincare group has rank 2. Is there a way to ...
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330 views

Precise statement of Mermin–Wagner theorem

Roughly speaking, Mermin-Wagner theorem states that continuous symmetries cannot be spontaneously broken at finite temperature in systems with sufficiently short-range interactions in dimensions ...
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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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Can a superpartner be less massive than its SM counterpart?

Theoretically, can a superpartner be less massive than its standard model counterpart? I realize there are experimental constraints.
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471 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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282 views

Gauge fermions versus gauge bosons

Why are all the interactions particle of a gauge theory bosons. Are fermionic gauge particle fields somehow forbidden by the theory ?
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252 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, ...