I am reading a book called "Gauge Fields, Knots and Gravity" by Baez et. al.

In the first chapter, the authors explains that there are three generations of charged particles:

  • First: electrons, electron neutrino, up/down quarks
  • Second: muon, muon neutrino, charm/strange quarks
  • Third: tau, tau neutrino, top/bottom quarks

Afterwards the author mentions that another charged particle is rumored to exist called the Higgs Boson that is neither a quark or a lepton and explains the relation between EM and the weak force. This was written dated 1994.

Now that the Higgs Boson has been discovered, I wonder if it fits anywhere in the "3-generation" scheme provided by the author? If the book was to be updated now, where would Higgs Boson lie? As some sort of 4th generation particle?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Firstly, the neutrinos are not electrically charged what you have listed are the fermions Secondly, there are other electrically charged particles that are not fermions, specifically the W bosons. The Higgs boson is not electrically charged. $\endgroup$
    – Timaeus
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


Leptons and quarks are fermions. ( Fermions are particles with half integer spins.)

You can, like the author has, divide them into three generations on basis of their masses.

The Higgs boson is a boson. (Bosons are particles with integer spins.)

The Higgs boson (which happens to be electrically neutral) is part of a completely different category of particles, and it cannot be a part of the three generations you've mentioned.

Also, I suppose the author was talking about fermions and not charged particles, because neutrinos are electrically neutral.

Also remember that electric neutrality is not a criteria which determines whether particles are fermions are not. There are bosons which are electrically charged too. (like the $+W$ and $-W$ bosons, that @Timaeus mentioned.)


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