A model of the basic particles and forces featuring six quarks, three charged leptons, three massless neutral leptons and four fundamental force carrying bosons. The twelve fermions are arranged into three generations, while the bosons serve to explain the electromagnetic interaction plus the strong ...

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52
votes
8answers
19k views

What's inside a proton?

What constitutes protons? When I see pictures, I can't understand. Protons are made of quarks, but some say that they are made of 99% empty space. Also, in this illustration from Wikipedia, what's ...
38
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

What is needed to claim the discovery of the Higgs boson?

As I understand the Higg's boson can be discovered by the LHC because the collisions are done at an energy that is high enough to produce it and because the luminosity will be high enough also. But ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Could gravity be an emergent property of nature?

Sorry if this question is naive. It is just a curiosity that I have. Are there theoretical or experimental reasons why gravity should not be an emergent property of nature? Assume a standard model ...
22
votes
1answer
253 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
178 views

Values of SM parameters at one certain scale

The general question is: What are the values of Standard Model parameters (in the $\bar{MS}$ renormalization scheme) at some scale e.g. $m_{Z}$? As its parametrization in Yukawa matrices is not unique ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

Are W & Z bosons virtual or not?

W and Z bosons are observed/discovered. But as force carrying bosons they should be virtual particles, unobservable? And also they require to have mass, but if they are virtual they may be off-shell, ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How does string theory reduce to the standard model?

It is said that string theory is a unification of particle physics and gravitation. Is there a reasonably simple explanation for how the standard model arises as a limit of string theory? How does ...
17
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do electron and proton have the same but opposite electric charge?

What is the explanation between equality of proton and electron charges (up to a sign)? This is connected to the gauge invariance and renormalization of charge is connected to the renormalization of ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is gravity so hard to unify with the other 3 fundamental forces?

Electricity and magnetism was unified in the 19th century, and unification of electromagnetism with the weak force followed suit, bringing into play the electroweak force. I've been told that ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

If the LHC doesn't find the Higgs Boson, what would be the implications for the Standard Model?

What would be the implications to the Standard Model if the Higgs Boson hadn't been found with the LHC? Also, if the Higgs Boson had not been found with the LHC, would it have been successfully ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

What Do We Get From Having Higher Generations of Particles?

Background: I have written a pop-science book explaining quantum mechanics through imaginary conversations with my dog-- the dog serves as a sort of reader surrogate, popping in occasionally to ask ...
16
votes
1answer
528 views

Why is there no theta-angle (topological term) for the weak interactions?

Why is there no analog for $\Theta_\text{QCD}$ for the weak interaction? Is this topological term generated? If not, why not? Is this related to the fact that $SU(2)_L$ is broken?
16
votes
0answers
236 views

Symmetries of the Standard Model: exact, anomalous, spontaneously broken

There are a number of possible symmetries in fundamental physics, such as: Lorentz invariance (or actually, Poincaré invariance, which can itself be broken down into translation invariance and ...
16
votes
0answers
514 views

A dictionary of string - standard physics correspondences

Motivated by the (for me very useful) remark ''Standard model generations in string theory are the Euler number of the Calabi Yau, and it is actually reasonably doable to get 4,6,8, or 3 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Did the researchers at Fermilab find a fifth force?

Please consider the publication Invariant Mass Distribution of Jet Pairs Produced in Association with a W boson in $p\bar{p}$ Collisions at $\sqrt{s} = 1.96$ TeV by the CDF-Collaboration, ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Why should the Standard Model be renormalizable?

Effective theories like Little Higgs models or Nambu-Jona-Lasinio model are non-renormalizable and there is no problem with it, since an effective theory does not need to be renormalizable. These ...
15
votes
2answers
684 views

Is there some explanation for $y_t=1$

The Yukawa coupling of the top quark is Dirac-natural in a too excellent way, it is within one sigma experimentally, and within 99.5% in absolute value, of being equal to one. Without some symmetry, ...
14
votes
1answer
217 views

Infrared-free QED and Higgsless standard model phenomenology

This is one of those "what if" fantasy world type questions. I like hard sci-fi so please no "well, you changed one thing about the world so now anything goes." :) What if the Higgs had no vev? That ...
13
votes
5answers
790 views

String Theory and Standard Model in CERN

I don't know how to say it, but in the TV dominatrices and the popular science books we see the string theory as "the best theory to explain everything", and as "the only game in town"... etc. And ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the need for the Higgs mechanism and electroweak unification?

The Higgs mechanism allows massless fields to acquire mass through their coupling to a scalar field. But if the masses cannot be predicted because the couplings have to be fixed, what really is the ...
13
votes
2answers
985 views

115 GeV, 170 GeV, and the noncommutative standard model

Several years ago, noncommutative geometry was used to describe the standard model, somehow yielding a prediction of 170 GeV for the mass of the Higgs boson, a prediction which was falsified a few ...
12
votes
1answer
360 views

Does the existence of Higgs imply the existence of Magnetic Monopoles?

I am aware that in theories with spontaneous symmetry breaking, Magnetic Monopoles can exist as topological solitons. Can the same be done with the Standard Model gauge group. I am familiar with the ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are quark types known as flavors?

There are six types of quarks, known as flavors. Why where these types called flavors? Why do the flavors have such odd names (up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom)?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
249 views

Why do we only have complete particle generations?

There are 3 generations of fermions in the standard model. I know that there is a theorem that states, that only complete generations are allowed. This means that there have to be quarks with three ...
11
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
98 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
4k views

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field?

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field and hence remain massless?
10
votes
1answer
280 views

Technical naturalness of Yukawa couplings

Naturalness in the sense of 't Hooft tell us that a small parameter is a signal of a symmetry such that the parameter will be zero when the symmetry is exact. I am puzzled about how this principle is ...
10
votes
2answers
474 views

The physics community's take on noncommutative geometry

Connes's noncommutative geometry program includes an approach to the Standard Model that employs a noncommutative extension of Riemannian metric. In recent years I've heard physicists say that this ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the alternatives to the Higgs mechanism?

Can someone summarize, with references if possible, all of the alternatives to the simplest model (that requires only a single scalar Higgs field with the Mexican Hat potential) of spontaneous ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Shape of the Higgs branching ratio to ZZ

I've been looking at the, now very popular, graph of the SM Higgs decay branching ratios: You see that the ZZ branching ratio has a funny dip around the $170\, GeV$, very different from the WW ...
10
votes
1answer
420 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
67 views

N=2 SSM without a Higgs

In arXiv:1012.5099, section III, the authors describe a supersymmetric extension to the standard model in which there is no Higgs sector at all, in the conventional sense. The up-type Higgs is a ...
10
votes
1answer
88 views

Chirality, helicity and the weak interaction

From what I'm understanding about Dirac spinors, using the Weyl basis for the $\gamma$ matrices the first two components behave as a left handed Weyl spinor, while the third and the fourth form a ...
10
votes
4answers
454 views

strange modulation of radiactive decay rates with solar activity

Recently i found out this uber strange article about nuclear decay rates being somehow showing seasonal variations with a high correlation with sun activity. Two very precise questions: 1) has this ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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
1answer
626 views

Why is Standard Model + Loop Quantum Gravity usually not listed as a theory of everything

I have often seeen statements on physics.SE such as, The only consistent theory of everything which we know of to date (2013) is string theory. Why exactly is this so? Adding the Loop Quantum ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
239 views

Is the fine-structure constant a parameter of the standard model?

According to the wikipedia entry on the fine-structure constant: In fact, α is one of the about 20 empirical parameters in the Standard Model of particle physics, whose value is not determined ...
9
votes
1answer
211 views

Why does the eightfold way work?

Last year I attended an introductory particle physics course, in which the Eigthfold Way for classifying hadrons has been discussed. The main idea consists in grouping hadrons in multiplets (i.e ...
9
votes
0answers
200 views

Relation among anomaly, unitarity bound and renormalizability

There is something I'm not sure about that has come up in a comment to other question: Why do we not have spin greater than 2? It's a good question--- the violation of renormalizability is linked ...
8
votes
2answers
408 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
691 views

Anti particles: What exactly is inverted?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiparticle says "Corresponding to most kinds of particles, there is an associated antiparticle with the same mass and opposite electric charge." and What is anti-matter? ...
8
votes
2answers
562 views

Why do leptons and quarks mix?

Is the fact that weak eigenstates are not mass eigenstates completely arbitrary? Or is there a deeper reason for the existence of the PMNS and CKM matrices?
8
votes
1answer
467 views

Do color-neutral gluons exist?

If I'm correct a quark can change color by emitting a gluon. For example a blue up quark $u_b$ can change into a red up quark by emitting a gluon: $$u_b \longrightarrow u_r + g_{b\overline{r}}$$ ...
8
votes
2answers
368 views

What do the four components of Dirac Spinors represent in the Standard Model?

I've been trying to get my head around the formalisms used in the Standard Model. From what i've gathered Dirac Spinors are 4 component objects designed to be operated on by Lorentz Transformations ...
8
votes
1answer
145 views

Anomalously broken conformal symmetry

I'm trying to understand an argument made by Bardeen in On Naturalness in the Standard Model. The argument is about quadratic divergences in Standard Model. My notation is that the SM Higgs potential ...
8
votes
0answers
439 views

On the naturalness problem

I know that there are several questions about the naturalness (or hierarchy or fine-tunning) problem of scalars masses in physics.stackexcange.com, but I have not found answers to any of the following ...