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25
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4answers
7k views

What would happen if an accelerated particle collided with a person?

What would happen if an accelerated particle (like they create in the LHC) hit a person standing in its path? Would the person die? Would the particle rip a hole? Would the particle leave such a tiny ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the graviton hypothetical?

Wikipedia lists the graviton as a hypothetical particle. I wonder whether graviton is indeed hypothetical or does its existence directly follow from modern physics? Does observation of gravitational ...
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Which is more fundamental, Fields or Particles?

I hope that I am using appropriate terminology. My confusion about quantum theory (beyond my obvious unfamiliarity with its terminology) is basically twofold: I lack an adequate understanding of ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Can one obtain free energy from the vacuum?

It is known that from the vacuum of a quantum field theory, virtual particle pairs are created and destroyed; is it possible to capture these particles thus obtaining free energy from the vacuum?
18
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
262 views

As the universe expands, the wavelengths of photons are stretched, and energy is lost. What about electrons?

Will electrons, and other particles, also loose energy as they travel through the cosmos? They have wavelengths. Do they get "stretched"? My guess is that the EM force, somehow, counteracts this ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
427 views

Why are there no particles in conformal theories?

In Matt Strassler's recent post (here) he makes the statement that scale invariant (I assume he means conformally invariant, more generally) theories have no particles in them. What's the reason for ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
252 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
226 views
+500

Wave/particle-duality as result of taking different limits of a QFT

There is an account on dualities in quantum field theories and string theories by Polchinski from last week http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.5704 At the end of page 4, he writes the wave/particle ...
8
votes
1answer
792 views

why is there no ninth gluon?

A teacher of mine told me once that there were no ninth gluon because such a one should be white and interact infinitely far, and no one has been observed. Is there also a theoretical reason?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Do particles and anti-particles attract each other?

Do particles and anti-particles attract each other? From the very basic understanding that they are created out of nothing mutually and collide to annihilate each other seems to indicate this happens ...
7
votes
3answers
306 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
322 views

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?
7
votes
3answers
379 views

Is there Bremsstrahlung radiation for a charged massless particle?

This is a follow up question from: Massless charged particles Since by definition such a particle would interact with photons- resulting in some change in momentum- would the particle emit ...
7
votes
3answers
249 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
376 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why can't massless particle exceed speed of light?

Why massless particle can't exceed speed of light?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Magnetic force doesn't do work and therefore can't change the KE of a particle?

I am having a real hard time understanding the principles behind a question I've come across during test prep. Here is the question: Q: A proton and an electron are traveling in the uniform ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Deciding what to collide at particle accelerator

Different particle accelerators use different types of collisions. For instance at the LHC they investigated p Pb collisions while its predecessor (LEP), used to collide electrons with proton and at ...
6
votes
4answers
494 views

Do particle velocities in liquid follow the Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution?

The Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution arises from non-reactive elastic collisions of particles and is usually discussed in the context of the kinetic theory (for gases). There are various ...
6
votes
2answers
224 views

How do collisions of fundamental particles produce different fundamental particles?

When considering fundamental particles as waves in fields, it seems like any collision of two particles of some fundamental type could only create energy within that type's field. Why do we expect ...
6
votes
2answers
419 views

If electrons behave as standing waves when they are bound to an atom then how do they carry charge?

Today in my physics lesson we learnt that the best way of describing the behaviour of an electron that is bound to an atom is to treat it as a standing wave. I understand that this is the ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Unusual particle effects at CERN

In 2010 there were press reports that CERN had identified unusual properties in particle behavour in collisions. One link here. Here is a partial quote: "In some sense, it's like the particles talk ...
5
votes
5answers
714 views

The observation of a non-SM resonance at 38 MeV

Was reported here. Of course if this is real it is very exciting. It leads me to the question: given that it took so long to find this resonance at a meager 38 MeV, is it possible that all SUSY ...
5
votes
2answers
480 views

How many subatomic particles can absorb/emit photons?

Is the electron the only subatomic particle that can absorb and emit a photon?
5
votes
6answers
614 views

What needs to happen for one to ingest radioactive particles and how likely is this?

There are many stories about radioactivity and the relative danger of it in the news lately, but very little actual information. The radioactivity levels around Fukushima Daiichi are high, but seem ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Is the particle reaction $π^- + p \to K^- + Σ^+$ possible?

I'm currently going over some undergraduate exams on particle physics and I'm having problems with a specific reaction, namely $$ \pi^- + p \to K^- + \Sigma^+ $$ which, in my opinion, is not allowed ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Is ch. 2, sect. 4 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 1 still accurate?

The chapter 2 section 4 of volume 1 is on nuclei and particles. Here are a few things that trouble me. Dr. Feynman says that Another most interesting change in the ideas and philosophy of science ...
5
votes
2answers
457 views

What if a faster-than-light particle is found?

What will be the consequence (severe ones) on laws of physics if a particle that travels faster than light is discovered? I am looking for a more general answer so that a high school student would be ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does lambda decay violate parity?

When a lambda particle decays into proton and a pion, I am told it does not conserve parity. Why?
5
votes
1answer
136 views

Do radio waves travel around the Earth or through it?

Whenever you hear someone illustrating/describing the transmission of radio waves they always make it seem like they'd travel perfectly around the Earth to another distant location. For example, a ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Confusion between the de Broglie wavelength of a particle and wave packets

So I learned that the de Broglie wavelength of a particle, $\lambda = \frac{h}{p}$, where h is Planck's constant and p is the momentum of the particle. I also learned that a quantum mechanics ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

How do alpha and beta particles ionise surrounding particles?

I've been wondering about this question for a while. If you have alpha and beta particles released from a radioactive core, how do they ionise surrounding particles?
5
votes
2answers
163 views

What information is lost in the symmetrization necessary to derive the BBGKY hierarchy?

The book on Kinetic theory I'm reading derives the BBGKY hierarchy after introducing the reduced distribution functions $f_s(q^1,p_1,q^2,p_2,\dots,q^s,p_s):=\int\ \rho\ \ \mathrm d q^{s+1} \mathrm d ...
4
votes
6answers
996 views

Good book about elementary particles for high school students?

I need a good book about elementary particles. I am a high school student and don't want anything to technical. I read a brief history of time and the universe in a nutshell but i want something that ...
4
votes
2answers
544 views

“Periodic Table” of Particles of the Standard Model?

What is a good, single, "periodic table" of all the particles of the Standard Model? I thought Particle Data Group would have a single-page PDF of this, but I couldn't find a single table listing all ...
4
votes
2answers
245 views

Which is the lightest thing in this universe? Is that a photon or neutrino?

I hear a lot of people saying that neutrino is the lightest subatomic particle but according to me a photon must be the lightest as nothing can travel faster than light because it gets heavier and ...
4
votes
1answer
231 views

Temporal part of Quantum Wavefunction

I was hoping that someone could give me the more fundamental reason that we take as the temporal part of a quantum wavefunction the function $e^{-i\omega t}$ and not $e^{+i\omega t}$? Clearly ...
4
votes
2answers
721 views

What is the “shape” of atomic/subatomic particles?

I apologize in advance for my ignorance if this is a question with an obvious answer... I am not experienced in this field. But are such particles in the universe points with a charge, or are they ...
4
votes
2answers
158 views

Do mechanical waves travel in straight lines?

Electromagnetic waves travel in straight lines but do all waves travel in straight lines?
4
votes
1answer
696 views

Does the speed of sand flow in a hourglass depend on a height of a sand column above the hourglass neck?

In a hourglass, does the sand flow through the neck depend on the amount of sand in the upper glass? If we consider a sand flow analogous to fluid flow, then it should depend linearly, but in that ...
4
votes
2answers
307 views

Higgs boson and quasiparticles

Do we know exactly the difference between particles and quasiparticles? Is Higgs boson a particle or a quasiparticle? I ask this because if I understood well, Higgs boson created by a spontaneaous ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

are particles “knots” or “kinks” of excitation in a field?

this is my mental picture for how they travel without a medium, how (like water waves) some can't stay still, why they have wave and particle properties, energy/mass equivalence, conservation, etc. ...
3
votes
4answers
168 views

is the Z boson one entity or are there as many entities as decay pairs, but they are equivalent and lumped together

just wondering if it is a distinction without a difference - it seeming a bit weird that one thing can decay into different things.
3
votes
3answers
164 views

Will the current carrying solid conductors emit light?

If we pass current through a gas, like in the discharge tube, the electrons will accelerate in the electric field. The accelerated electrons will collide with gas molecules, and transfer some of their ...