Talk:Elementary particle

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Simple Request[edit]

Someone nicknamed 'Cush' has taken it upon themselves to significantly modify the main particle graphic so it looks extra pretty. The problem is, it's made it much more difficult for viewers with less-than-perfect vision. I'm not making this stuff up, I've been working in a library, and this page is one of many that are mentioned by older users.

So, while I understand and appreciate the attempt to modernise the look, it's gone a bit too far in the pretty direction.

Would someone with the right tools be able to revert to something easier on he eyes, while including all the new information?

Thanks. Cephas Atheos (talk) 22:54, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

I think the particle counting for the Standard Model bosons is faulty. Why do you count the 8 color combinations for gluons, when you don't count the three possibilities for each quark? I like the way the Fermilab poster counts the particles: 6 quarks (u,d,c,s,t,b), 6 leptons (e,mu,tau,e_nu,mu_nu,tau_nu), the photon, the W, the Z, and the gluon. That's every standard model particle that's been observed, and uniformly leaves out antiparticles and color. I will change the article to this in a few days, unless there are objections. -- SCZenz 20:52, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

Leaving out color makes no more sense than leaving out flavor, generation or chirality. The only real way to discuss "numbers" of particles is with degrees of freedom. -- Xerxes 02:25, 2005 July 16 (UTC)
But if there are 8 gluons, then there are 18 quarks. It doesn't make any sense to only count color for one and not the other. It seems to me that the color is being counted only for gluons in order to create an artificial parallel between the number of fermions and the number of gague bosons. -- SCZenz 05:19, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Not 18. There are (color)(flavor)(generation)(spin) 3×2×3×4 = 72 degrees of freedom in the quark fields. Versus (color)(spin) 8×2 = 16 gluonic ones. 24 leptonic, 12 massless (24 massive) neutrino, 9 W/Z, 2 photon, 1 Higgs and 2 graviton. If I haven't miscounted... -- Xerxes 06:14, 2005 July 16 (UTC)
Well, the page wasn't counting spin (it claims 6 quarks, 6 leptons, 8 gluons, 1 Z, 2 W's, and 1 photon). If you take away your spin DoF, you do get what I said: "if there are 8 gluons, there are 18 quarks." You may be technically correct that we should count everything, but I think this would very much confuse the people who read the page (who are not, in general, physicists). If you're willing to accept experimentally-motivated arguments, I would suggest counting the particles that we can differentiate from each other in observations (and cut down the number by ignoring stuff that more or less just flips, like spin and parity). In any case my assertion that the particle counting on the page is inconsistent is still solid. -- SCZenz 15:17, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
I guess my basic point is that the notion of there being some "number" of elementary particles doesn't make a lot of sense if you're not counting degrees of freedom. If you can say that spin is "just flips", I could just as easily say that flavor is "just flips of weak isospin space". And while it's not easy, it's certainly possible experimentally to distinguish between different spins of particle. Think astrophysics polarization experiments, or Wu's demonstration of parity-breaking. I think a careful counting of degrees of freedom would be accessible to a novice reader; it's just counting and multiplication. -- Xerxes 16:43, 2005 July 16 (UTC)
A novice reader might be able to follow a DoF-counting, but I am not sure he would not find it very enlightening. Besides, why are you neglecting the degrees of freedom a quark has to be off-shell, or to have any arbitrary momentum, or to exist at any point in spacetime? Doesn't this mean there are, in fact, an uncountable number of quarks? I agree that how one counts particles is a bit arbitrary, but the most common (and most sensible, IMHO) approach to popularizing physics is to count particles that can be differentiated in an experiment--i.e. that have different masses, or different lifetimes, or carry a different force. And then, reduce that set, by ignoring spin and charge and parity, which are detectable but (mostly) flip the behavior of the particle in some obvious way. In the end, the question here is not what is true (which can't possibly have a clear meaning when counting particles), but what will be most educational thing to say on Wikipedia. -- SCZenz 23:37, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
Well, you don't count spacetime DoF because every particle lives in the same spacetime. But not so for spin. There's no sense in making statements that are false just because they're easier to understand than the truth. Just say half-truths like: "There are 6 flavors of quark." "There are 8 colors of gluon." There's no need to say what the "total number" of particles is. -- Xerxes 00:08, 2005 July 17 (UTC)
There is no capital-T truth in physics. You count particles different ways--sometimes the neutral kaon and its antiparticle are two particles, other times the K-long and K-short (linear combinations thereof) are two particles, and sometimes they're all just collections of the "real" particles, the quarks--depending on what you're doing. We can't ever prove that any of the things on this page are elementary particles at all, in fact--all we can say is that the only good model we have assumes they are, and there's no evidence to the contrary. Everything a physicst ever says is a severe oversimplifcation anyway. The bottom line is counting six quark flavors, and eight gluon colors is comparing apples and oranges, so this article should be changed somehow. To discuss how, I'm going to start a new, less indented, thread below. -- SCZenz 00:53, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

By all means, let's say there are six quark flavors, but there's no reason to say there are eight gluon colors unless we list the quark colors also. It's probably better to get rid of the particle-counting, and do away with the current non-sensical 12 fermion-12 boson parallel. I'll rewrite a bit, when I get the chance, and we can argue some more then. -- SCZenz 00:53, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

How much crack are you guys on?[edit]

How much crack are you guys on? -- Anon

Good question! We're physics grad students, so probably a lot. -- SCZenz 15:02, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

I find the idea of fundamental particles extremely counterintuitive. Can you folks explain why there's reason to believe it stops gettin' smaller? -- Different Anon —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.205.234.52 (talk) 23:39, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

There is indeed no reason to believe it stops getting smaller, there is just no experimental evidence that it doesn't. We would love to find something smaller, the first one to do so would get a Nobel Prize for sure. And there's no lack of effort, e.g. experimentally using particle colliders like the LHC, or theoretically with ideas such as string theory (which, unfortunately, cannot currently be directly tested experimentally). Jasondet (talk) 06:28, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Will changes be made?[edit]

I was wondering if you are still going to make changes. As someone with little knowledge of this topic, I can tell you what would be confusing to someone like myself, and thus help you to make this a better, more easily understood article.

I did make the changes discussed on this talk page, and I made some minor reorganizations just now as well. Just because we were having a technical discussion doesn't mean I was going to put a bunch of technical crap into the article.. ;) So, the question is, does it look good to you as it is now? -- SCZenz 17:14, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

How many elementary particles does it take?[edit]

There seems to be a growing list of these so called elementary or fundamental particles. Is the universe really so complicated at this level---- or is there a simpler answer?- I mean can't all these particles be made from something simpler so i can understand it all!?-Light current 05:29, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Many elementary particles you'll find listed, e.g. on List of particles are hypothetical, so there aren't as many as all that. Yes, we hope there is something simpler, but we don't know what it is yet. String theorists think the answer may be that all particles are different vibrations of fundamental 1-dimensional objects, but the mathematics of that theory is so complex that even they don't understand it yet. The remaining insolved problems in science are hard--otherwise they'd have been solved years ago. -- SCZenz 05:36, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

The simpler the theory, the more I like it (as Albert Einsten MAY have said to himself one day)--Light current 05:38, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Physicists agree. That's why we try the simplest theories first, and work our way up. Unfortunately, only very complicated ones are left, as far as we can tell. -- SCZenz 05:40, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Unless of course, everyones missed the really simple theory all these years!--Light current 14:42, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

If you buy the Big Bang theory then you're stuck with the initial concept of an initial amount of very small particle/energy packages moving around within an increasing volume of 3 dimensional space. And since then nothing much can be said to have happened except that some of the particle/energy packages have slowed down and coalesced into larger entity particles, as well as into sentient beings who have taken on the task of trying to categorize the particles with relation to their perceived physical, chemical and mathematical (size and motion) properties.WFPM (talk) 17:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Heim?[edit]

I think it would only be fair to have a link to Heim theory. After all it purports to predict all the masses of all of the particles.Ggb667 17:47, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Missing items: extra dimensions and little Higgs and Technicolor[edit]

Under speculative theories BSM we should include something about extra dimensions, little Higgs models, and technicolor. I'm not really expert enough to do so - would someone else like to give it a try? SchmittM 23:29, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Contribution from 146.88.1.10 moved from main page[edit]

Here is a rough diagram (poorly reproduced, I'm afraid), drawn from information in entries in this section. I hope someone will improve upon it without complicating it too much, or changing its fundamental structure, which starts with two fundamental distinctions: Fermions vs. Bosons, and Fundamental (non-composite) Particles vs. Hadrons (composites):
http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/~dking/images/particleZoo.jpg

This is not presently in good enough shape for the article, but maybe somebody can make something of it. -- Xerxes 20:04, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Opening paragraph[edit]

The opening paragraph needs to provide an informative overview of what elementary particles are per the definition of the term. Presently, the opening paragraph tells almost nothing (plus fundamental particles is a return-redirect):

In particle physics, an elementary particle is one of a wide variety of particles simpler than atoms. For example, atoms are made up of smaller particles known as electrons, protons, and neutrons. The proton and neutron, in turn, are composed of more elementary particles known as quarks. One of the outstanding problems of particle physics is to find the most elementary particles, the so-called fundamental particles, which make up all the other particles found in nature, and are not themselves made up of smaller particles.

Basically, what this says is that a fundamental particle is anything smaller than an atom. The reader would have already known at least this much before arriving here. I am going to clean this intro using the following five sources as a basis as to the general consensus of the term:

References

  1. ^ Gribbon, John (2000). Q is for Quantum - An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 068485578X. 
  2. ^ Clark, John, E.O. (2004). The Essential Dictionary of Science. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0760746168. 
  3. ^ Veltman, Martinus (2003). Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics. World Scientific. ISBN 981238149X. 
  4. ^ Seiden, Abraham (2005). Particle Physics - A Comprehensive Introduction. Addison Wesley. ISBN 0805387366. 
  5. ^ Schumm, Bruce, A. (2004). Deep Down Things - the Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 081087971X. 

Thanks:--Sadi Carnot 10:13, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

There are serious problems with this revision. The table is a redundant addition, since there is a much more extensive table in the section immediately following.
The counting of particles given is both wrong and irrelevant. The number of the fundamental particles must include a proper counting of spin, colour and flavour degrees of freedom. The total number of particles (including hadrons) is meaningless, since there are infinite towers of resonances of all hadrons. -- Xerxes 16:31, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Xerxes, you seem to be going against the general consensus of the talk page regarding concerning elementary particle count. Including myself, there seems to be four users who what a simple but definitive statement concerning particle count. I assume your intentions are sound and reasoned; however, the average person wants to know how many basic particles the universe is composed of. Based on your concerns, as noted here, I suggest the following approximate statement concerning count, a statement which will of course change in the years to come as our understanding of the particle zoo increases:
Neglecting both elementary particle character variations in spin, color, flavor, degrees of freedom, vibrations, resonances, etc., and hypothetical elementary particles not yet found by experiment, the current count of known elementary particles, out of which all else can be made, stands at 17 as shown below:
If you are an expert on this subject, I would hope that you would fine-tune this statement rather than continue to argue that count is not relevant. In my opinion, it gives people peace of mind to known that there is a basic count of fundamental particles, i.e. neglecting all of the subtleties as to the precise definition. Let’s work together on this.--Sadi Carnot 00:38, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
This is preposterous. One might as well post on the Animal page that "neglecting differences in physiology, genetics, behaviour and range, there is one kind of animal". Such a count is useless and misleading. If you would like me to count up the correct number of degrees of freedom, that is possible. You get a large number (in the hundreds) that is useful but not particularly illuminating. -- Xerxes 15:20, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Xerxes, what you have to realize is that 100 years from now the big picture of particle physics is no doubt going to be quite different than it is now. In the present encyclopedia article we want to give or present an overview picture as to what is accepted as general knowledge. There are, obviously, details to be worked out. --Sadi Carnot 14:39, 15 May 2006 (UTC)


It is not true that elementary particles cannot act on themselves. This is true of fermions, but not of bosons; see the diagram in section 3.2 of Standard Model. Certain bosons exchange bosons, to wit, the gluons and the W particles. Thus gluons are subject to the strong force, and the W particles are subject to the weak force. Either the diagram is wrong, or the Intro to this entry is wrong.123.255.26.112 (talk) 20:41, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Elementary Particle vs Fundamental Particle[edit]

Xerxes, your change to the intro:

In particle physics, an elementary particle is a particle not known to have substructure; that is, it is not made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the fundamental particles from which all larger particles are made.

makes it seem as though fundamental particles were smaller than elementary particles. According to at least three sources that I've read today the term "elementary particles" came of use in 1934 and the "fundamental particles" came of use in 1947 (source Merriam-Webster); yet in present use all entries on fundamental particles list see: elementary particles. Hence, they are synonyms with elementary particles being the favored term. I will amend this to clarify.--Sadi Carnot 01:11, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

The difference is that particles thought to be fundamental are called elementary. Particles that are actually fundamental are called fundamental. Thus the list of elementary particles keeps changing and the list of fundamental particles is unknown. -- Xerxes 15:17, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Xerxes, I'll admit up front that I'm actually a biologist rather than a physicist, but by that logic wouldn't there be a single type of Point Particle that would be the only fundamental particle? It seems that a single geometric point would have to be either occupied or not, making space itself a kind of binary code at the smallest scale. Significance for the Article: Perhaps a reference to the distinction you refer to could link to Articles on monadological theory. Presumably, the particles that we now accept as elementary (electrons, all six types of quarks, etc.) would be distinguished from each other by unknown arrangements of such Point Particles and empty geometric points within them. After all, everything else in nature is distinguished from other kinds of things by its substructure. The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 08:20, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

anyway the fundamental particles can decay into smaller fundamental particles-down quark to up electron + electron + electron anti nuetrino. so the only thing that really seems fundamental here is energy.

You could be right; however, I feel that presently we are in a terminology transformation window. I suppose that it will be some time before the public intuitiveness as to the difference between these two terms arrives. --Sadi Carnot 14:42, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Interesting that the aspect & extension of particles is to define what a particle & the system to which it is a member or element {in the mathematical sense} or form vs function in the physical sense. The aspect of where does a particle exist relates to the how does it manifest it's existance? The Math aspect of sets need to be applied to the concept of particles as well the the Physics aspect of form & function. Which for the present version, science isnt even sure of their existence, let alone established any real sense of function. Clay 12:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

What a reader assumes[edit]

Hello, this is my first attempt to enter a Wiki discussion. I work in the area of language, I wonder if I can help.

Perhaps a problem here is that particle physics becomes so counter-intuitive in some respects, that normal assumptions regarding classification break down.

Wave-particle duality upset assumptions of excluded middle, is there something similar here? Hopefully it is not that tricky though.

A table does not become a chair because it is turned upside down, nor because it is painted a different colour, nor because it is travelling at different speeds -- on the back of a truck, in an aeroplane, or even in a rocket at a speed close to light.

A table is one thing, it has invarient properties, that distinguish it from chairs, and other properties it that may or may not change, that it has in common with chairs.

DoF sound like different modes of existence of a specific entity. An entity may jump backwards and forwards between those modes. The modes teach us about the behaviour of the entity and may have analogies to the behaviour of other entities.

Is there a canonical representation of mass, for example, for each of the named particles, which is unique to each particle, or to a class of particles?

Can a blue quark change colour? If yes, colour is a DoF, a mode of existence of a particular kind of quark. The red or green version is not truly a different species, just the same thing at a different time. If no, we have twin entities, sharing many properties in common, but being fundamentally different individuals.

As you correct my wrong thinking, I hope it helps you work out what you want to tell all the readers who share my naive assumptions. Alastair Haines 12:37, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Can we give some sort of physical description of an elementary particle?[edit]

Explaining that a particle is either fundamental or elementary is useful for descriptions of those particular particles.

We need some description of what constitutes a particle. Such as:

  • it has physical extensions in 3 dimensions (size),
  • it has mass, which can be called rest mass or relativistic mass,
  • the amount of rest mass (rest energy) of a particle depends on the nature of the particle and ranges from 2eV to 800 GeV based on current results,
  • it can be time-dependent or time-independent
  • it consists of "normal" matter and may be composed of "dark" matter
  • etc.

Is this possible or are we still in the dark at this level? Bvcrist 04:08, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Mass and composition are still sort of being figured out and debated, but it's meant to be an elementary fermion which is not composed of any other known particle or boson. Although it can be anything as either predicted by theory or detected in an experiment since there's still no consensus as to a dark matter candidate. -71.247.255.235 (talk) 07:13, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Substructure also needs an article or definition[edit]

Just checked the term "substructure" and read a math definition. Can someone add one oriented to particle physics? Bvcrist 04:13, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Point Particle[edit]

There is no list of physical features of a generic elementary particle. The Wiki article on Point Particle lists the following physical features:

"A point particle is an idealized particle heavily used in physics. Its distinguishing features are that it does not have any volume or surface area; it is zero dimensional. A point particle is often a good approximation of real particles and also more extended bodies. In Newtonian gravitation as well as general relativity and electromagnetism, the respective fields outside of a spherical object are identical to those of a point particle of equal charge/mass located at the center of the sphere.

Particle physics suggests that fundamental particles (quarks, electrons and other leptons) may be point particles which can contain mass, charge, spin, and multipole moments without occupying any volume."


Can Elementary Particle share this list of physical features? Bvcrist 18:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)


Unmentioned related topics[edit]

I'm amazed that neither Atomism nor infinite divisibility are mentioned in this article. Surely someone with more expertise in these areas can write a little something. Infinite divisibility is a fundamental question closely related to the existence of an elementary particle, and Atomism was one crucial approach.

treyjp 08:08, 31 January 2007 (UTC) I'm glad you have made this aspect of defining particles! Because beyond the historical aspect of "searching for the fundamental particle[s]" is the relation formed as part of a larger form of structure. Clay 13:03, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Not a very informative article...[edit]

One can barely extract any information from this article alone without having to read the main articles. Some sections need a more serious explication. LaughingSkull 18:08, 4 June 2007 (UTC)


Seriously guys i came to this web sight hoping to gain some idea about something on this page. I leave more confused than before. None of it makes any sense WhatSoEver to anyone who doesn't already know it. This page is not at all useful, and should be designed for people who don't already know all about elementary particles and are trying to learn something. Please make it useful. Felix Harvey-Rosser 5:52, 3 August 2007.

I personally thought the chart at the beginning of the aricle was very helpful. Particule physics are almost inevitably rather complicated. Perhaps some sort of manual flow chart for all the particles would help organize them? Feebas_factor 19:51, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

New image[edit]

Please comment of the new table of elementary particles at Wikipedia:Graphic_Lab/Images_to_improve#String Theory. Thanks. Dhatfield (talk) 11:26, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

X and Y boson?[edit]

Why is the article not mentioning anything about the X and Y boson? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.153.21.181 (talk) 09:56, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Because their existence hasn't been confirmed yet. Just a theory which states that there is a possibility of a fifth fundamental force governed by two bosons like the weak interaction. Asiant X13 (talk) 06:26, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

But the existence of gravitons are not confirmed yet either. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 222.153.20.30 (talk) 04:27, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Hadron Collider[edit]

When the Hadron Collider is able to detect the divine Higgs bossons, can the existence of the divinity and the evolution be traced out exactly?

No, it can't. Blame that idiot who had the "brilliant" idea of nicknaming the Higgs boson "God's particle", confusing many people about that point. I don't believe that any experiment can prove or disprove God's existence, and what the heck does evolution have to do with particle physics? -- Army1987 (t — c) 15:00, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

What is a particle?[edit]

I'd like to suggest that this article spend a little more wording on the meaning of the word 'particle', as opposed to a 'wave'. The wiktionary just says it's something with a very small size, or a fragment. But I think there's more to it than that. To distinguish it from a 'wave', I think a particle must have some concept of locality and perhaps a collisional behavior, at least from the perspective of a distant observer. Yes I know about wave-particle duality, so perhaps this article could explain under what circumstances a particle displays particle-like behavior?—RJH (talk) 18:08, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

According to standard modern physical theory, all particles are waves, & vice versa. Peter jackson (talk) 11:10, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Generally speaking a particle is something that can be acted on by a force, or that carries a force, whereas waves are descriptions of entities with regard to a relationship of some property of an entity to a defined property of the wave. Therefor the conceptional properties 0f particles is intuitively easier to understand, mainly because the particle concept assumes that the particle is the physical entity involved in the concept, whereas the wave concept has to deal with the medium of propagation of the wave. And now that we have used the "uncertaincy principle" to allow the spreading out of the property of a particle over over an uncertain spacial distance, or area, or volume, about the only advantage the particle concept has is that it still is the conceptual real physical entity involved in the process.WFPM (talk) 02:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Gluons[edit]

Why doesn't the article seem to say anywhere that there are 8? Peter jackson (talk) 11:12, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, this should be mentionned somewhere. Headbomb {ταλκκοντριβς – WP Physics} 18:20, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Why is a black hole not listed as an elementary particle?[edit]

According to this page,

an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure.

And as far as I'm aware, a black hole does not have a substructure and according to the Black Hole article

a black hole has only three independent physical properties: mass, charge, and angular momentum.

Anyone?!?!

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Btxtsf (talkcontribs) 15:57, 4 May 2010 (UTC) 

A black hole is a concentration of matter of such a degree that you can't use customary physical concepts to assess the situation. Like Angular Momentum = M x V x R, and it doesn't have an R? Or that the centrifugal force of separation of the hole's constituents is V squared/R and R = zero.? And I didn't know that it had a charge. But the charge concentration due to the radius factor must be terrible.WFPM (talk) 02:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

And in the above particle count discussion, the fact is being missed is that a lot of people who think about these things ( including me), think about them with relation to some geometric pattern that they can organize in their mind, and then modernize as to subset differentiation details, like the Periodic table. And I would think that could be accomplished with the existing approach shown towards that type of presentation, if you could just agree on a system of format presentation that would consolidate and emphasize the similarities of these conceptual entities and at the same time also allow for a lesser presentation of the subordinate details. and I think that's what you're trying to do, but it still needs a little better organization as to the ability of the chart boxes to identify and include all the proposed 18 particles and to place them in a coordinated location for comparative analysis. And like they say, a picture (or a chart) is worth a thousand words.WFPM (talk) 03:57, 13 May 2010 (UTC) And consider the effort that has been carried out to keep the format of the periodic table sufficiently organized that it can be printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper.WFPM (talk) 05:53, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

13 Elementary Particles now? (update image also?)[edit]

Should we update this now?

I provided this to help! http://i.imgur.com/Z6LIY.gif — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alisalaah (talkcontribs) 20:11, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes I think it should be updated I like this image though
The Standard model of elementary particles and interactions
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Dja1979 (talkcontribs) 01:38, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Is the Higgs really an elementary particle? or Elementary vs. Decay[edit]

I am not a physicist and I am a little confused here. If "... an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure..." then how can the Higgs be listed as an elementary particle if the only way we can detect it is by its decay? Doesn't the act of decaying mean that it is made up of other things? If this isn't true (which I suspect) please elaborate on this because it is confusing to someone not in the field. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.73.25.213 (talk) 12:50, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

An elementry particle is a particle that isn't made up of any other particles. The Higgs decays into lighter particles but this does not mean that it is made up of these particles. Quantum mechanics predicts that if it is possible for a particle to decay into a set of lighter particles, then it will eventually do so. From E=mc2 mass is just a form of energy, so when the Higgs decays it releases energy that may be in the form of any particle that is lighter than it. So it could be in the form of photons, Z0, e- e+ pair or any other lighter particle. These particles did not exist before the Higgs decayed, so it is not made up from these particles. Even though there are 13 elementry particles: only the electron, up and down quark and the photon are stable (neutirnos oscillate). Dja1979 (talk) 17:21, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Material of elementary particles[edit]

it says it does not have subparticles but, nonetheless, what are they made of?--144.122.104.211 (talk) 00:08, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

The Standard Model doesn't say. Maybe start looking at ToE, GUT, or String theory, but at the moment there isn't any experimental evedence to say what elementary particles are made of yet. Dja1979 (talk) 22:26, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
In 1920, when particle accelerators were nonexistent and the only particles known were photons, electrons, and protons [1], Einstein remarked that, "according to the special theory of relativity, both matter and radiation are but special forms of distributed energy, ponderable mass losing its isolation and appearing as a special form of energy" [3]. In 1905, to explain the photoelectric effect, Einstein had proposed that the energy of the electromagnetic field—that is, radiation—is distributed as particles, named photons in 1926. So Einstein regarded photons as not only traveling with energy but as forms of energy, and regarded matter particles, too, as forms of energy. Indeed, photons emerge from other particles undergoing state transitions [2]. And though massless, photons can combine to produce matter. In 2012, to produce the very massive elementary particle Higgs boson, far less massive composite particles, namely protons, were accelerated to near light speed, so that the sum of proton mass and kinetic energy was converted via collision into other particles, including Higgs-like particles, in accord with mass/energy equivalence (E=mc2) [4]. Einstein deduced the relation from special theory of relativity.
Most theoretical physicists are string theorists. Although string theory lacks notable experimental corroboration, routine practice and outcomes in experimental physics applying the Standard Model in particle accelerators [5] inform string theory's most basic conjecture—that particles are energy. All particles can be produced via the transformation of energy into mass [2]. Among physicists, string theory's controversial claim is that particles are energy strings shaped by space having six or seven hidden dimensions while all known particles have superpartners perhaps in hidden nooks of space. What is space, then? Einstein explained space as unified with time, a spacetime that itself is the gravitational field, not nothing [6] but a type of aether [3,7,8], receiving motion from a body and transmitting it to other bodies while waving. By superfluid vacuum theory, space is frictionless fluid, more speculative than particles being variants of energy. Today, many physicists interpret a particle as an "excitation of a field" [9]. What is a field, then? Classical physicists interpreted that a field is set of physical relations within the aether, and that particles are composed of aether, obtaining all its mass and energy from the surrounding aether [10]. Experimental evidence suggests existence of aether [3,7,8]. Aether remains a despised term [7], yet "excitation" is generally accepted as a form of energy.
1) Braibant S, Giacomelli G, Spurio M, Particles and Fundamental Interactions: An Introduction to Particle Physics (Springer, 2012), p 3
2) Braibant S et al, 2012, p 2
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72.89.40.204 (talk) 08:07, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Jar Full of Electrons[edit]

Each time I read about particles, I imagine myself dropping on the floor a jar full of electrons. You'd have electrons all over the place! So, I'd rather think of the electron as the 90 degree intersection of the dielectric (electrostatic) lines of force with the magnetic lines of force. Heaviside said so, and it keeps me sane. 67.206.161.189 (talk) 20:20, 20 December 2013 (UTC)