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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

11
votes
2answers
939 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
383 views

Is the neutral pion a singlet?

In Griffiths' Introduction to Elementary Particles, it is mentioned p. 179 that the $\pi^0$ is a singlet under $SU(2)$ isospin. But it is also part of the $\pi^-,\pi^0,\pi^+$ isospin triplet. How can ...
11
votes
3answers
568 views

Are there really left-chiral particles?

A chiral eigenstate is always a linear combination of a particle and an antiparticle state and a particle or antiparticle state is always a linear combination of chiral eigenstates. Now, how can we ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
238 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. ...
11
votes
1answer
677 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) = ...
11
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Deriving Feynman rules from a Lagrangian for vertex factors for “more complicated” interactions

I am trying to derive Feynman rules from a given Lagrangian and I got stuck on some vertex factors. What for example is the vertex factor that corresponds to the four-scalar interaction that is ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

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?
10
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
26k views

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?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do physicists say that elementary particles are point particles?

For example, an electron, it has mass and charge, but is considered to have point mass and point charge, but why? Why are they assumed to have charge and mass in a single infinitely small point in ...
10
votes
2answers
777 views

Why couldn't the decay $\pi^- \to e^- + \bar\nu_e$ occur if electrons were massless?

If we assume that electrons (just like neutrinos) are massless, why can’t the decay $\pi^- \rightarrow e^- + \bar{\nu}_e$ occur under the weak interaction?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do we need to find 5 Higgs Bosons to prove the existence of the dark matter?

I was recently watching a show that say we need at least 5 Higgs Boson to prove the existence of the dark matter because it will strengthen the concept of symmetry. Why is that so? Because, I am not ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How Did Paul Dirac Predict The Existence of Antiproton?

The existence of the antiproton with -1 electric charge, opposite to the +1 electric charge of the proton, was predicted by Paul Dirac in his 1933 Nobel Prize lecture. Quotation by Wikipedia. ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

If matter and antimatter repel, how do we know other galaxies aren't made of antimatter? [duplicate]

Wikipedia's article on antimatter says this: There is considerable speculation as to why the observable universe is composed almost entirely of ordinary matter, as opposed to a more even mixture ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
985 views

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?
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is pseudorapidity defined as $-\log \tan \theta/2$

Why the log? Is it there to make the growth of the function slower? As this is a common experimental observable, it doesn't seem reasonable to take the range from $[0,\infty)$ to $(-\infty,\infty)$ ...
10
votes
4answers
203 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

How can we speak use the notion of “particle” in LHC, given that we live in a curved spacetime?

I understood from lectures that the metric of a spacetime was absolute: It does not depend upon the test charge we put inside. Indeed, all the calculation our professor carried out were independent of ...
10
votes
1answer
580 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 ?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a particle annihilate only with its antiparticle? If yes, why?

Or to put the question another way - what is the result of a proton-positron collision, or an up quark-charm antiquark collision, etc.? As far as I know, annihilation happens only between particles of ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

What is $p_T$? (transverse momentum?)

I've been looking at a few papers in experimental physics (from the ATLAS collaboration, for example) and I've often run across phrases such as "high-$p_T$ electron." What exactly is $p_T$? Is it ...
10
votes
2answers
608 views

Nambu-Goldstone bosons from a quantum anomaly symmetry breaking?

We know that: Nambu-Goldstone bosons come from Goldstone theorem: a spontaneous (continuous)-symmetry breaking of the system leads to massless scalar modes. quantum anomaly: is the anomalous ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What actually happens when an anti-matter projectile collides with matter?

I'm trying to understand what would really happen when large quantities (e.g., 10g) of anti-matter collide with matter. The normal response is that they'd annihilate each other and generate an ...
10
votes
3answers
609 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
546 views

Why doesn't my particle simulation end in a flat disc?

I've made a 3d particle simulator where particles are attracted to each other by the inverse of the square radius. The purpose of my experiment is to see if this alone would create a flat disk (like ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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?
10
votes
3answers
573 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
482 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

Proof of Yang's theorem

Yang's theorem states that a massive spin-1 particle cannot decay into a pair of identical massless spin-1 particles. The proof starts by going to the rest frame of the decaying particle, and relies ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between 'running' and 'current' quark mass?

When looking at the PDG, there is a difference between the 'running' and the 'current' quark masses. Does anyone know which is the difference between these two?
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is chirality?

I actually wanted to make the title as "What is the difference between chirality and helicity"? But I didn't do that because I don't understand properly what chirality is. I have gone through this ...
10
votes
3answers
338 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
430 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
242 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
496 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
369 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
260 views

Are oscillations of electron chirality experimentally observable?

Is there any plausible experiment by which chirality oscillations in electrons could be observed experimentally, such as through some analogy to neutrino oscillation experiments?
10
votes
0answers
50 views

status of +4/3 scalar as explanation of $t\bar t$ asymmetry

One of the early proposals for the Tevatron asymmetry on $t \bar t$ was a "fundamental diquark" with a charge (and hypercharge) +4/3, either in a triplet or a sextet colour. I am interested on the ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

What future technologies does particle physics and string theory promise? [closed]

What practical application can we expect from particle physics a century or two from now? What use can we make of quark-gluon plasmas or strange quarks? How can we harness W- and Z-bosons or the Higgs ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between a neutron and hydrogen?

Differences? They are both an electron and a proton, since the neutron decays to a proton and an electron, what's the difference between a neutron and proton + electron? so is it just a higher binding ...
9
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Which is the smallest known particle that scientists have actually *seen with their eyes*? [closed]

Which is the smallest particle that has been actually seen by the scientists? When I say "actually seen", (may be using some ultra advanced microscope or any other man made eye, using any wavelength ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

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. ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ? ...
9
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
354 views

Is particle number a problem for formulating statistical physics in a mathematically rigorous manner?

Quantities like the chemical potential can be expressed as something like $$\mu=-T\left(\tfrac{\partial S}{\partial N}\right)_{E,V}.$$ Now the entropy is the log some volume, which depends on the ...