Strange quark

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Strange quark
Composition Elementary particle
Statistics Fermionic
Generation Second
Interactions Strong, Weak, Electromagnetic force, Gravity
Antiparticle Strange antiquark (
Theorized Murray Gell-Mann (1964)
George Zweig (1964)
Discovered 1968, SLAC
Mass 95+5
Decays into Up quark
Electric charge 1/3 e
Color charge Yes
Spin 1/2
Weak isospin LH: −1/2, RH: 0
Weak hypercharge LH: 1/3, RH: −2/3

The strange quark or s quark (from its symbol, s) is the third-lightest of all quarks, a type of elementary particle. Strange quarks are found in subatomic particles called hadrons. Example of hadrons containing strange quarks include kaons (
), strange D mesons (
), Sigma baryons (
), and other strange particles.

According to the IUPAP the symbol s is the official name, while strange is to be considered only as a mnemonic.[2] The name sideways has also been used because the s quark has a T3 value of 0 while the u (“up”) and d (“down”) quarks have values of +1/2 and −1/2 respectively.[3]

Along with the charm quark, it is part of the second generation of matter, and has an electric charge of −1/3 e and a bare mass of 95+5
.[1] Like all quarks, the strange quark is an elementary fermion with spin 1/2, and experiences all four fundamental interactions: gravitation, electromagnetism, weak interactions, and strong interactions. The antiparticle of the strange quark is the strange antiquark (sometimes called antistrange quark or simply antistrange), which differs from it only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign.

The first strange particle (a particle containing a strange quark) was discovered in 1947 (kaons), but the existence of the strange quark itself (and that of the up and down quarks) was only postulated in 1964 by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig to explain the Eightfold Way classification scheme of hadrons. The first evidence for the existence of quarks came in 1968, in deep inelastic scattering experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. These experiments confirmed the existence of up and down quarks, and by extension, strange quarks, as they were required to explain the Eightfold Way.


In the beginnings of particle physics (first half of the 20th century), hadrons such as protons, neutrons and pions were thought to be elementary particles. However, new hadrons were discovered, the 'particle zoo' grew from a few particles in the early 1930s and 1940s to several dozens of them in the 1950s. However some particles were much longer lived than others; most particles decayed through the strong interaction and had lifetimes of around 10−23 seconds. But when they decayed through the weak interactions, they had lifetimes of around 10−10 seconds to decay. While studying these decays Murray Gell-Mann (in 1953)[4][5] and Kazuhiko Nishijima (in 1955)[6] developed the concept of strangeness (which Nishijima called eta-charge, after the eta meson (
)) which explained the 'strangeness' of the longer-lived particles. The Gell-Mann–Nishijima formula is the result of these efforts to understand strange decays.

However, the relationships between each particle and the physical basis behind the strangeness property was still unclear. In 1961, Gell-Mann[7] and Yuval Ne'eman[8] (independently of each other) proposed a hadron classification scheme called the Eightfold Way, or in more technical terms, SU(3) flavor symmetry. This ordered hadrons into isospin multiplets. The physical basis behind both isospin and strangeness was only explained in 1964, when Gell-Mann[9] and George Zweig[10][11] (independently of each other) proposed the quark model, then consisting only of up, down, and strange quarks.[12] Up and down quarks were the carriers of isospin, while the strange quark carried strangeness. While the quark model explained the Eightfold Way, no direct evidence of the existence of quarks was found until 1968 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.[13][14] Deep inelastic scattering experiments indicated that protons had substructure, and that protons made of three more-fundamental particles explained the data (thus confirming the quark model).[15]

At first people were reluctant to identify the three-bodies as quarks, instead preferring Richard Feynman's parton description,[16][17][18] but over time the quark theory became accepted (see November Revolution).[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b J. Beringer (Particle Data Group); et al. (2012). "PDGLive Particle Summary 'Quarks (u, d, s, c, b, t, b′, t′, Free)'" (PDF). Particle Data Group. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  2. ^ Cohen, Richard E; Giacomo, Pierre. Symbols, Units, Nomenclature and Fundamental Constants in Physics (PDF) (2010 ed.). IUPAP. p. 12. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  3. ^ McGervey, John D. (1983). Introduction to Modern Physics (second ed.). New York: Academic Press. p. 658. ISBN 0-12-483560-0. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  4. ^ M. Gell-Mann (1953). "Isotopic Spin and New Unstable Particles". Physical Review. 92 (3): 833. Bibcode:1953PhRv...92..833G. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.92.833. 
  5. ^ G. Johnson (2000). Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics. Random House. p. 119. ISBN 0-679-43764-9. By the end of the summer ... [Gell-Mann] completed his first paper, "Isotopic Spin and Curious Particles" and send it of to Physical Review. The editors hated the title, so he amended it to "Strange Particles". They wouldn't go for that either—never mind that almost everybody used the term—suggesting insteand "Isotopic Spin and New Unstable Particles". 
  6. ^ K. Nishijima, Kazuhiko (1955). "Charge Independence Theory of V Particles". Progress of Theoretical Physics. 13 (3): 285. Bibcode:1955PThPh..13..285N. doi:10.1143/PTP.13.285. 
  7. ^ M. Gell-Mann (2000) [1964]. "The Eightfold Way: A theory of strong interaction symmetry". In M. Gell-Mann, Y. Ne'eman. The Eightfold Way. Westview Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-7382-0299-1. 
    Original: M. Gell-Mann (1961). "The Eightfold Way: A theory of strong interaction symmetry". Synchrotron Laboratory Report CTSL-20. California Institute of Technology 
  8. ^ Y. Ne'eman (2000) [1964]. "Derivation of strong interactions from gauge invariance". In M. Gell-Mann, Y. Ne'eman. The Eightfold Way. Westview Press. ISBN 0-7382-0299-1. 
    Original Y. Ne'eman (1961). "Derivation of strong interactions from gauge invariance". Nuclear Physics. 26 (2): 222. Bibcode:1961NucPh..26..222N. doi:10.1016/0029-5582(61)90134-1. 
  9. ^ M. Gell-Mann (1964). "A Schematic Model of Baryons and Mesons". Physics Letters. 8 (3): 214–215. Bibcode:1964PhL.....8..214G. doi:10.1016/S0031-9163(64)92001-3. 
  10. ^ G. Zweig (1964). "An SU(3) Model for Strong Interaction Symmetry and its Breaking". CERN Report No.8181/Th 8419. 
  11. ^ G. Zweig (1964). "An SU(3) Model for Strong Interaction Symmetry and its Breaking: II". CERN Report No.8419/Th 8412. 
  12. ^ B. Carithers, P. Grannis (1995). "Discovery of the Top Quark" (PDF). Beam Line. SLAC. 25 (3): 4–16. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  13. ^ E. D. Bloom; Coward, D.; Destaebler, H.; Drees, J.; Miller, G.; Mo, L.; Taylor, R.; Breidenbach, M.; et al. (1969). "High-Energy Inelastic ep Scattering at 6° and 10°". Physical Review Letters. 23 (16): 930–934. Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23..930B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.930. 
  14. ^ M. Breidenbach; Friedman, J.; Kendall, H.; Bloom, E.; Coward, D.; Destaebler, H.; Drees, J.; Mo, L.; Taylor, R.; et al. (1969). "Observed Behavior of Highly Inelastic Electron–Proton Scattering". Physical Review Letters. 23 (16): 935–939. Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23..935B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.935. 
  15. ^ J. I. Friedman. "The Road to the Nobel Prize". Hue University. Retrieved 2008-09-29. 
  16. ^ R. P. Feynman (1969). "Very High-Energy Collisions of Hadrons". Physical Review Letters. 23 (24): 1415–1417. Bibcode:1969PhRvL..23.1415F. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.23.1415. 
  17. ^ S. Kretzer; Lai, H.; Olness, Fredrick; Tung, W.; et al. (2004). "CTEQ6 Parton Distributions with Heavy Quark Mass Effects". Physical Review D. 69 (11): 114005. Bibcode:2004PhRvD..69k4005K. arXiv:hep-th/0307022Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.69.114005. 
  18. ^ D. J. Griffiths (1987). Introduction to Elementary Particles. John Wiley & Sons. p. 42. ISBN 0-471-60386-4. 
  19. ^ M. E. Peskin, D. V. Schroeder (1995). An introduction to quantum field theory. Addison–Wesley. p. 556. ISBN 0-201-50397-2. 

Further reading[edit]