Questions tagged [elementary-particles]

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52
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5answers
10k views

Do photons truly exist in a physical sense or are they just a useful concept like $i = \sqrt{-1}$? [closed]

Reading about photons I hear different explanations like "elementary particle", "probability cloud", "energy quanta" and so forth. Since probably no one has ever seen a photon (if "seen" it supposedly ...
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6answers
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Do electrons have shape?

According to the Wikipedia page on the electron: The electron has no known substructure. Hence, it is defined or assumed to be a point particle with a point charge and no spatial extent. Does ...
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3answers
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What is the evidence for 'billions of neutrinos pass through your body every second'?

This statement is repeated so often that it has become somewhat of a cliche: 'billions of neutrinos pass through your body every second'. For example see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. What is the evidence for it,...
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Why are muons considered to be elementary particles in the Standard Model?

According to this article, a muon decays into one electron and two neutrinos. According to this article, elementary particles or fundamental particles are particles "whose substructure is unknown, ...
36
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6answers
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Is the Higgs boson an elementary particle? If so, why does it decay? [duplicate]

The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field and is very massive and short lived. It also interacts with the Higgs field and thus is able to experience mass. Why does it decay if it is ...
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7answers
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How can the unstable particles of the standard model be considered particles in their own right if they immediately decay into stable particles?

How can the unstable particles of the standard model be considered particles in their own right if they immediately decay into stable particles? It would appear to a layman such as myself that these ...
33
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5answers
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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 ...
30
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4answers
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Is there anything in the universe that cannot be compressed?

I've always thought that there is nothing in the universe that cannot be compressed or deformed under enough force but my friend insists that elementary particles are exempt from this. My thought is ...
27
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5answers
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Where is the evidence that the electron is pointlike?

I'm writing a piece about the electron, and I'm having trouble finding evidence to back up the claim that the evidence is pointlike. People tend to say the observation of a single electron in a ...
27
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4answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Can you split a photon?

I was wondering if a photon is divisible. If you look at a photon as a particle, then you may be able to split it (in theory). Is it possible and how do you split it?
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3answers
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Why are all force particles bosons?

All of the force-particles in the standard model are bosons, now my question is pretty short, namely: Why are all force particles bosons? This can't be a coincidence.
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Why do physicists believe that particles are pointlike?

String theory gives physicists reason to believe that particles are 1-dimensional strings because the theory has a purpose - unifying gravity with the gauge theories. So why is it that it's popular ...
17
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5answers
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When an electron changes its spin, or any other intrinsic property, is it still the same electron?

I am not asking why an intrinsic property, like spin can have more then a single value. I understand particles (electrons) can come to existence with either up or down spin. I am asking why it can ...
17
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6answers
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What happens before a radioactive element decays?

What happens to a radioactive element just before it decays? In school, I've been told that the decay process of an element is absolutely random, and it is impossible to determine which unstable ...
17
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3answers
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What is the meaning of the size of a particle in QFT?

I have often seen people refer to the size of a particle being at most a given value, or a particle being a point particle, in the context of quantum field theory. Examples are the Wikipedia entry on ...
17
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3answers
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Why do quarks have a fractional charge?

I am aware that evidence exists that strongly suggests the existence of quarks and do not doubt it. It is just simply really weird to me that they can have a fractional charge. While other ...
16
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3answers
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Is there an electric dipole moment in an electron?

I just read an article in Science News (p7, 11/10/2018, link here) where researchers looked for an electric dipole moment in an electron. They spoke of charge separation between the positive and ...
15
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4answers
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An electron has no known internal structure, does that imply it has an unknown one?

I'm currently reading Alonso and Finn's Electromagnetism book. It explains that the spin contributes to the magnetic moment and is somewhat comparable to a rotation of the particle around its own ...
15
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2answers
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Why do physicists think that the electron is an elementary particle?

When we first discovered the proton and neutron, I'm sure scientists didn't think that it was made up of quark arrangements, but then we figured they could be and experiments proved that they were. ...
15
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2answers
697 views

In a universe with four spatial dimensions would there be elementary particles with intrinsic isoclinic spin?

Elementary particles have an intrinsic property called spin which is different from classical spin as it does not involve actual rotation and the magnitude of spin cannot be changed but particles with ...
15
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2answers
261 views

Is there a reason, other than mass hierarchy, that we associate each quark generation with a particular lepton generation?

The Standard Model contains three generations of quarks, and three generations of leptons. We generally pair off these generations into the "light" generation ($e, \nu_e, u, d$), the "medium" ...
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6answers
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Can two people see the same photon?

In a dark room there are two people and a very faint candle. Then the candle emits one photon. Is it true that only one person can see the photon? Why? And are there any experiments? Edit 2019/4/23: ...
14
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6answers
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Can elementary particles be explained adequately by a wave-only model?

I have been watching quantum mechanics documentaries and reading a layman's book called "The Quantum Universe". I believe I understand why the double slit experiments exclude a particle only model. ...
14
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3answers
637 views

How do we prove or disprove that a particle has no internal structure? [duplicate]

In many pop physics books I have read that an electron has no internal structure. How do we know that and how can we rigorously prove that it has no such structure at all?
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4answers
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Intrinsic structure of electron

The electron contains finite negative charge. The same charges repel each other. What makes electron stable and why does it not burst? Is it a law of nature that the electron charge is the smallest ...
13
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4answers
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Haag's comment on the relation between fields and particles

I am very confused by the statement made in Haag's, Local Quantum Physics: Fields, Particles, Algebras (page 46): ... the idea that to each particle there is a corresponding field and to each field a ...
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4answers
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Why are there no elementary charged, spin-zero particles?

In the spirit of a related inquiry, I would like to know if there's a basis for understanding why there aren't any elementary particles that have non-zero electric charge but zero spin? Can such a ...
13
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5answers
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How can a point-particle have properties?

I have trouble imagining how two point-particles can have different properties. And how can finite mass, and finite information (ie spin, electric charge etc.) be stored in 0 volume? Not only that, ...
12
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1answer
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Stability of elementary particles

Are elementary particles stable, like many atoms or molecules are stable if there are no reaction partners nearby? Or can they be observed just for very short instances of time?
11
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2answers
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What is the difference between a neutrino and an antineutrino? [duplicate]

Since an antiparticle by definition is a particle with the same mass but opposite charge, how is there such a thing as an antineutrino? A neutrino has 0 charge so could not have an opposite. So why ...
11
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2answers
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Is everything made of massless particles?

Photons have no mass. Yet they interact gravitationally, as all energy does, with other energetic and massive particles. This means that if you put multiple photons in a system, you get something that ...
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4answers
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Does the existence (now proved) of gravitational waves imply the existence of Gravitons?

I studied the theoretical part about the Gravitational waves in General Relativity (linearization of gravity and small perturbations of the metric and so on). But I was wondering about: since ...
11
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4answers
527 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 ...
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1answer
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Experimental boundaries for size of electron?

There is some confidence that electron is a perfect point e.g. to simplify QFT calculations. However, searching for experimental evidence (stack), Wikipedia article only points argument based on g-...
10
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2answers
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Why couldn't the decay $\pi^- \to e^- + \bar\nu_e$ occur if electrons were massless?

If we assume that electrons (just like neutrinos) are massless, why can’t the decay $\pi^- \rightarrow e^- + \bar{\nu}_e$ occur under the weak interaction?
10
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1answer
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Why do physicists say that elementary particles are point particles?

For example, an electron, it has mass and charge, but is considered to have point mass and point charge, but why? Why are they assumed to have charge and mass in a single infinitely small point in ...
10
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1answer
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Explaining chirality for spin 1/2 particle

I found the following explanation for chirality for spin 1/2 particles here What happens when you rotate a left- vs right-chiral fermion 360 degree about its direction of motion. Both ...
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4answers
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Elementary Particle of Magnetic Field

If gravity - a field force - has an elementary particle, the graviton, why don't other field forces like magnetic fields have their elementary particles? I mean, why isn't there a magneton? Or, what ...
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3answers
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If electrons have a negative spin of 1/2 do all particles also have the ability to have a negative spin?

I've been told that electrons can have $+{1\over 2}$ or $-{1\over 2}$ spin. And that because of the Pauli exclusion principle this is how they can occupy the same shell. But when I look online I only ...
9
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1answer
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Is it a coincidence that quarks have exactly -1/3 or 2/3 the electron's charge? [duplicate]

I have read these questions: Why do quarks have a fractional charge? Is there an explanation for the 3:2:1 ratio between the electron, up and down quark electric charges? Hypercharge for $U(1)$ ...
8
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2answers
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Why is an electron considered a point-particle?

Apparently, an electron has mass not greatly smaller than a proton (roughly 1/20, I read, the rest being just binding energy) its volume should, therefore, not be a lot smaller, and its radius between ...
8
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3answers
342 views

Why do the masses of fundamental particles seem to increase exponentially?

The (15 positive) masses of fundamental particles are measured inputs to the standard model. They seem to increase exponentially when ranked in increasing order, or perhaps follow a power law when ...
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3answers
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Are atoms made of protons, electrons and neutrinos?

If neutrons decay into proton, electron and (anti)neutrino of electron type, then is it safe to say that atoms are protons, electrons and neutrinos?
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4answers
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How would we know that Dirac equation does not describe composite spin-1/2 fermions?

How do we know that the quanta of a quantized Dirac field describe elementary spin-1/2 fermions (or point particles of spin-1/2) and not composite spin-1/2 fermions (or extended structure of spin-1/2) ...
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5answers
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What is the cross-section size of a photon?

How "wide" is a photon, if any, of its electromagnetic fields? Is there any physical length measurement of these two orthogonal fields, $E$ and $M$, from the axis of travel? When a photon hits a ...
7
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1answer
399 views

Is color confinement detected?

I'm a graduate student studying QFT. I'm quite interested that is color confinement detected or proved? (both directly and indirectly) Or it is just an assumption?
7
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2answers
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Can an elementary particle be reduced to its properties?

For instance, is an up quark merely its particular mass, 2/3 electrical charge and 1/2 spin? I was wondering if there was a 1:1 correspondence with a particle and its properties, but I noticed a gluon ...
7
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1answer
510 views

What are fundamental dimensions used to describe the physical universe? [closed]

I have heard that the universe can be explained in terms of the four fundamental forces. I have also heard it can be explained in terms such as space, time, energy, mass or even motion. To further ...
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4answers
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Can we stop electrons from moving? [closed]

We know that electrons have a dual nature just like EM waves (of course all the materials are said to have dual nature, noticeable or not). So looking at the wave nature of an electron and comparing ...

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