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25
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5answers
1k 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 ...
21
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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 ...
19
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
1k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
357 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 ...
11
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 ...
10
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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. ...
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
914 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
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
658 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
3answers
290 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
366 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
184 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
2answers
1k views

Why can't massless particle exceed speed of light?

Why massless particle can't exceed speed of light?
6
votes
3answers
297 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?
6
votes
2answers
99 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
160 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
184 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
1answer
293 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
248 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
324 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
851 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
706 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
6answers
509 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
2answers
261 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
398 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
78 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
942 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
4k 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
1answer
131 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
888 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
1answer
196 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
572 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
77 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
610 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
153 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
2answers
283 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
2answers
227 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
167 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
152 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
542 views

Existence of creation and annihilation operators

In a multiple particle Hilbert space (any space of any multi-particle system), is it sufficient to define creation and annihilation operators by their action (e.g. mapping an n-particle state to an ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Speed of a particle in quantum mechanics: phase velocity vs. group velocity

Given that one usually defines two different velocities for a wave, these being the phase velocity and the group velocity, I was asking their meaning for the associated particle in quantum mechanics. ...
3
votes
2answers
167 views

How can Sub-Atomic Particles be Visualized?

Can you see or accurately visualise sub atomic particles or are they known only by maths and/or inference?
3
votes
2answers
186 views

Understanding a Physics Paper on Quantum Teleportation of Continuous variables

The paper I am trying to understand is here: http://pra.aps.org/abstract/PRA/v49/i2/p1473_1 The paper describes the quantum teleportation protocol in a general case with continuous dynamical ...
3
votes
2answers
418 views

Particles vs Waves

As I remember long ago, in my physics classes, I always had a great trouble understanding the concept of waves. Our professor used to explain, as if everything in this world is made up of waves. ...
3
votes
1answer
210 views

Why do we assume that Dirac spinor $\Psi$ describe the particle, not the field?

It is a well-known fact that Klein-Gordon scalar $\Psi(x)$, $$ (\partial^{2} + m^2) \Psi (x) = 0 $$ as well as 4-vector $A_{\mu}(x)$, $$ (\partial^{2} + m^{2})A_{\mu} = 0,\quad ...