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 can a point-particle have properties?

I have trouble imagining how two point-particles can have different properties. And how can finite mass, and finite information (ie spin, electric charge etc.) be stored in 0 volume? Not only that, ...
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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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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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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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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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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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Concept of a point particle in quantum mechanics

A point particle is usually thought of as structureless and without dimension. However, given that Heisenberg's uncertainty principle prohibits us from knowing the position of a particle exactly, what ...
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490 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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597 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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67 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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238 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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352 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, ...
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What is a quark condensate?

What is a quark condensate? is it a bound state between 2 quarks? can we have 3(or more)-quarks condensate? What mediates the interaction between the constituents of the condensate? Are the ...
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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 ...
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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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Standard Deviation in Particle Physics

I'm familiar with sigma, and how its usually calculated and used, but would like to know how it's applied to particle physics. I recall reading that the discovery of the Higgs would only be credible ...
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298 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" by Christian Lippmann (2011), arXiv:1101.3276 In figure 2, there is an interesting ...
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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 ...
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117 views

B-meson naming convention

An unbarred $B$-meson contains $\bar{b}$ (an anti-bottom quark), whereas a barred $\bar{B}$-meson contains $b$ (a bottom quark). What is the historical reason for this hellish naming convention?
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Why can't massless particle exceed speed of light?

Why massless particle can't exceed speed of light?
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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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396 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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316 views

$t\bar{t}$ asymmetry

Some weeks ago, there was lots of talk about this CDF paper: Evidence for a Mass Dependent Forward-Backward Asymmetry in Top Quark Pair Production where they measured a much higher asymmetry than ...
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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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563 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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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 ...
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Why are neutrino oscillations considered to be “beyond the Standard Model”?

Is this just a historical artifact - that the particle physics community decided at some point to call all of the pre-oscillation physics by the name the "Standard Model"? The reason I ask is because ...
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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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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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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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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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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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What defines the mass of elementary particle?

The electron is particle. The mass of electron is $9.10938215(45)\times 10^{−31}\, {\rm kg}$. But why is the mass exactly what it is? What in physics defines the mass of elementary particle?
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Why are there no elementary charged, spin-zero particles?

In the spirit of a related inquiry, I would like to know if there's a basis for understanding why there aren't any elementary particles that have non-zero electric charge but zero spin? Can such a ...
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676 views

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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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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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 simply ...
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What allows the modified Urca process to work at lower density than direct Urca in neutron star cooling?

The dominant method of neutron star cooling is neutrino emission. There are two regimes usually presented, the "direct Urca" and "modified Urca" processes, each of which are sequences of neutron decay ...
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552 views

Do gamma matrices form a basis?

Do the four gamma matrices form a basis for the set of matrices $GL(4,\mathcal{C})$? I was actually trying to evaluate a term like $\gamma^0 M^\dagger \gamma^0$ in a representation independent way, ...
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553 views

Can the weak force create a bound state?

My understanding is that the exchange of Z bosons could yield an attractive or repulsive "force" between two fermions. For most combinations the electromagnetic or strong interactions will take place. ...
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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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Was the Higgs mass correctly predicted by asymptotic safety of gravity?

This paper was published in Phys Lett B in 2009, and predicted the Higgs mass to be 126 GeV based on the asymptotic safety of gravity. Is this prediction taken seriously by the theory community, or is ...
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If particles are excitations what are their fields?

After reading these : http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/july-2013/real-talk-everything-is-made-of-fields http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=682522 It was clear to me that all ...
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226 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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How deep can my knowledge of particle physics go without the maths?

By no means do I have the mathematical background to understand most of the math used in elementary particle physics. My current knowledge is of all the elementary particles and how they interact ...
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743 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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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 ...