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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Why does space expansion not expand matter?

REFORMULATED: I have looked at the other questions (ie "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for. My question: There is always mention of space expanding ...
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3answers
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How does the Higgs mechanism work?

I'm not a particle physicist, but I did manage to get through the Feynman lectures without getting too lost. Is there a way to explain how the Higgs field works, in a way that people like me might ...
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3answers
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What is spin as it relates to subatomic particles?

I often hear about subatomic particles having a property called "spin" but also that it doesn't actually relate to spinning about an axis like you would think. Which particles have spin? What does ...
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8answers
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Accelerating particles to speeds infinitesimally close to the speed of light?

I'm in a freshmen level physics class now, so I don't know much, but something I heard today intrigued me. My TA was talking about how at the research facility he worked at, they were able to ...
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What would be the effects on theoretical physics if neutrinos go faster than light?

Earlier today, I saw this link on Facebook about neutrinos going faster than the speed of light, and of course, re-posted. Since then, a couple of my friends have gotten into a discussion about what ...
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How does one experimentally determine chirality, helicity, spin and angular momentum?

If I've got an instance of a fundamental particle, how can I separate out the measurements of these three concepts? (I think) I understand the theory behind them, and why the particles in the ...
58
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Gauge symmetry is not a symmetry?

I have read before in one of Seiberg's articles something like, that gauge symmetry is not a symmetry but a redundancy in our description, by introducing fake degrees of freedom to facilitate ...
21
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2answers
1k views

What is the mass density distribution of an electron?

I am wondering if the mass density profile $\rho(\vec{r})$ has been characterized for atomic particles such as quarks and electrons. I am currently taking an intro class in quantum mechanics, and I ...
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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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979 views

Origin of electric charge

Baryons have charges that are the result of a polynomial calculation of their building blocks (quarks)'s fractional charges. But what gives these quarks electric charges? What interactions do they ...
26
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8k views

Is there an equation for the strong nuclear force?

The equation describing the force due to gravity is $$F = G \frac{m_1 m_2}{r^2}.$$ Similarly the force due to the electrostatic force is $$F = k \frac{q_1 q_2}{r^2}.$$ Is there a similar equation ...
21
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Why is the (free) neutron lifetime so long?

A neutron outside the nucleus lives for about 15 minutes and decays mainly through weak decays (beta decay). Many other weakly decaying particles decay with lifetimes between $10^{-10}$ and $10^{-12}$ ...
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Why isn't Higgs coupling considered a fifth fundamental force?

When I first learned about the four fundamental forces of nature, I assumed that they were just the only four kind of interactions there were. But after learning a little field theory, there are many ...
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2answers
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What happens to matter in a standard model with zero Higgs VEV?

Suppose you reset the parameters of the standard model so that the Higgs field average value is zero in the vacuum, what would happen to standard matter? If the fundamental fermions go from a finite ...
8
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8answers
891 views

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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1answer
433 views

What are the average matter, antimatter, and binding energy composition of protons and neutrons?

For a free baryon at rest at room temperature, how much of its ~1Gev (rest) mass can (on average) be considered as matter, as antimatter, and as binding energy? For a baryon in a nucleus, I assume ...
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Are elementary particles actually more elementary than quasiparticles?

Quarks and leptons are considered elementary particles, while phonons, holes, and solitons are quasiparticles. In light of emergent phenomena, such as fractionally charged particles in fractional ...
25
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1answer
359 views

Identification of particles and anti-particles

The identification of an electron as a particle and the positron as an antiparticle is a matter of convention. We see lots of electrons around us so they become the normal particle and the rare and ...
5
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2answers
261 views

How is the size of the particles is determined?

What is the size of atomic and subatomic particles, like proton, neutron, photon etc? Is it defined based on some quantum characterics as de Broglie wavelength or Compton wavelength?
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Why do we think there are only three generations of fundamental particles?

In the standard model of particle physics, there are three generations of quarks (up/down, strange/charm, and top/bottom), along with three generations of leptons (electron, muon, and tau). All of ...
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970 views

What is the relationship between string net theory and string / M-theory?

I've just learned from this one of Prof. Wen's answers that there exists a theory called string net theory. Since I've never heard about this before it picks my curiosity, so I`d like to ask some ...
6
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1answer
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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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2answers
635 views

Can black holes be created on a miniature scale?

A black hole is so powerful to suck everything into itself. So is it possible that mini black holes can be created? If not then we could have actively disproved the rumors spread during LHC ...
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References on the non-compositeness of the known elementary particles

What paper(s) or theory(s) describe or prove that the elementary particles that we have determined today cannot be made up of smaller more fundamental particles?
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Is all matter made of virtual particles?

This article in New Scientist says that all matter is actually virtual particles popping in and out of existence and nothing more. is this correct?
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10answers
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Applications of Algebraic Topology to physics

I have always wondered about applications of Algebraic Topology to Physics, seeing as am I studying algebraic topology and physics is cool and pretty. My initial thoughts would be that since most ...
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7answers
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Is (rest) mass quantized?

I learned today in class that photons and light are quantized. I also remember that electric charge is quantized as well. I was thinking about these implications, and I was wondering if (rest) mass ...
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Massless charged particles

Are there any massless (zero invariant mass) particles carrying electric charge? If not, why not? Do we expect to see any or are they a theoretical impossibility?
18
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What happened to the idea of tachyonic or other superluminal neutrinos?

While hunting around for information about the recent OPERA measurement that hints at superluminal neutrinos, I discovered that this idea was actually considered back in the 1980s. Wikipedia lists as ...
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3answers
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Hypercharge for $U(1)$ in $SU(2)\times U(1)$ model

I understand that the fundamental representation of $U(1)$ amounts to a multiplication by a phase factor, e.g. EM. I thought that when it is extended to higher dimensional representations, it would ...
8
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2answers
548 views

What is the fastest process or shortest time in nature?

We know about some events that happen very quickly. For example, the dielectric relaxation time is about $10^{-14}\, \mathrm{seconds}$. I'm interested in other processes that switch extremely fast ...
14
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2answers
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Do anti-photons exist?

I know what anti-matter is and how when it collides with matter both are annihilated. However, what about anti-photons? Are there such things as anti-photons? I initially thought the idea ...
8
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3answers
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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 ...
7
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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 ...
6
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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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The contribution to mass from the dynamical breaking of chiral symmetry

The claim is often made that the discovery of the Higgs boson will give us information about the origin of mass. However, the bare masses of the up and down quarks are only around 5 MeV, quite a bit ...
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2answers
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How could something have negative mass?

With all the theories on how Neutrinos apparently broke the light barrier, there was one theory someone told me of how neutrinos might have less than zero mass, but she didn't explain how this was ...
12
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755 views

Speed of neutrinos

Everyone knows it is close to $c$, but how close? What are the recent results?
6
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2answers
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What is the percentage of useful energy do we get from matter-antimatter annihilation?

This is a theoretical question since we haven't made enough antimatter to try it in reality of course. But I am asking about the physics part in this. Also, by "useful energy" I mean the energy we ...
3
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2answers
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More on matter and anti-matter

1.) Does every particle that has rest mass also have an anti-particle with which it would annihilate? 2.) Does annihilation only occur between like particles? For example what happens if a ...
26
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5answers
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Do electrons have shape?

According to the Wikipedia page on the electron: The electron has no known substructure. Hence, it is defined or assumed to be a point particle with a point charge and no spatial extent. Does ...
18
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4answers
1k views

What is your simplest explanation of the string theory?

How would you explain string theory to non physicists such as myself? I'm specially interested on how plausible is it and what is needed to successfully prove it?
21
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7answers
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Are there old aged particles?

To measure the lifetime of a specific particle one needs to look at very many such particles in order to calculate the average. It cannot matter when the experimentalist actually starts his stopwatch ...
14
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Particle physics plots

I'm having a hard time understanding what some of the plots that are presented by ATLAS/CMS actually show. See for example: http://resonaances.blogspot.com/2011/07/higgs-wont-come-out-of-closet.html ...
17
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Why do neutrons repel each other?

I can understand why 2 protons will repel each other, because they're both positive. But there isn't a neutral charge is there? So why do neutrons repel? (Do they, or have I been misinformed?) The ...
25
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4answers
2k views

How do we know Dark Matter isn't simply Neutrinos?

What evidence is there that dark matter isn't one of the known types of neutrinos? If it were, how would this be measurable?
25
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5answers
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How come neutrons in a nucleus don't decay?

I know outside a nucleus, neutrons are unstable and they have half life of about 15 minutes. But when they are together with protons inside the nucleus, they are stable. How does that happen? I got ...
7
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2answers
630 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?
5
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2answers
445 views

What is the significance of Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ to particle physics?

I was hoping someone could give an overview as to how the Lie groups $SO(3)$ and $SU(2)$ and their representations can be applied to describe particle physics? The application of Lie groups and their ...
12
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Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in Experiments?

As I hope is obvious to everyone reading this, the universe contains more matter than antimatter, presumably because of some slight asymmetry in the amounts of the two generated during the Big Bang. ...