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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61
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5answers
7k views

How literally should you take “The Higgs boson gives other particles mass”?

A standard phrase in popular discussions of the Higgs boson is that "it gives particles mass". To what extent is this a reasonable, pop-science, level of description of the Higgs boson and it's ...
58
votes
8answers
21k 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 ...
41
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 ...
37
votes
2answers
740 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 ...
34
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 ...
26
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 ...
25
votes
1answer
439 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
19
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
0answers
708 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
4k 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, ...
18
votes
1answer
762 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?
18
votes
2answers
184 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 ...
18
votes
0answers
308 views

Finding the vacuum which breaks a symmetry

I will start with an example. Consider a symmetry breaking pattern like $SU(4)\rightarrow Sp(4)$. We know that in $SU(4)$ there is the Standard Model (SM) symmetry $SU(2)_L\times U(1)_Y$ but depending ...
17
votes
5answers
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 ...
17
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
5answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
922 views

Is the Standard Model consistent (UV complete)?

This is a question about the self-consistency of the Standard Model - which I believe is the same as asking whether it is UV complete - in other words, can it be used to predict experimental results ...
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 ...
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
2answers
1k views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
474 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
703 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
3answers
781 views

Alternatives to electromagnetism for communication?

It seems, from my (weak) understanding of the standard model that the only field suitable for long range communication is the one we actually use, electromagnetism. (Gravity waves could be used as ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Evidence of why the Standard Model is a successful theory of particle physics

When discussing physics with laypersons, I'm often in the situation where I have to explain what the Standard Model is, and why it's a successful theory of particle physics. To help in such ...
14
votes
3answers
7k views

Your Mass is NOT from Higgs Boson

Your Mass is NOT from Higgs Boson? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ztc6QPNUqls This guy can't be correct, right? He argues that because mostly of a nucleus' mass is made out of the space between ...
14
votes
1answer
180 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
284 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
1answer
878 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
661 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?
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
1k 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
4answers
5k views

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field?

Why don’t photons interact with the Higgs field and hence remain massless?
12
votes
3answers
2k 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)?
12
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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? ...
12
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 ...
11
votes
1answer
478 views

Justification for new theories of Particle Physics and General Relativity

In reference to arxiv:1212.4893v3 and arxiv:1206.5078v2 papers of Ma and Wang, they have proposed new theories in particle physics, the weakton model where quarks and leptons are formed using these ...
11
votes
1answer
264 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
1k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
265 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
120 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
1answer
466 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
835 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
324 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
3answers
1k views

Why does the weak force distinguish left and right handedness?

I'm wondering why the weak interaction only affects left-handed particles (and right-handed antiparticles). Before someone says "because thats just the way nature is" :-), let me explain what I find ...
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
1answer
446 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 ...