The particle zoo

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The particle zoo

  1. 1. The Particle Zoo By Jason Beedle
  2. 2. Quarks, Leptons, Baryons, oh my! The universe is filled with a vast assortment of different particles. These particles make everything look, work, and act the way they do in our world. On the right there is a picture of some of the most well known particles. These particles include the proton, the neutron, and the electron. These particles make up atoms, which are the building blocks of normal matter, but all of these particles, excluding the electron are made up of even smaller particles called quarks.All of these different particles are divided into different classes like the baryons, mesons, andleptons. Baryons consist of some of the larger particles like the proton and the neutron.Mesons are made up of very interesting particles like the pion and some mesons are evenheavier than a proton. Lastly, the Leptons are fundamental particles like the electron.
  3. 3. The different quarks Quarks are the particles that make up most of the particles in the atom. Only thefundamental electron is not made up of these little building blocks. They are a fundamentalparticle, which means that they are not a composite particle, or made up of smaller entities.They are strongly interacting and never appear singly. They are the building blocks of thebaryons and meson particles and in the picture above you can see that they have a picture ofthe inside of a proton and it has three different colored balls inside. Each of these balls is aquark, the reason that they are multicolored is because quarks come in three colors which iscalled a color charge. The quarks can either be colored red, green, and blue. Antiquarks, the antiparticle to the quark, come in the colors of antired, antigreen, and antiblue. If a red, a green,and a blue quark are combined they become colorless. The same goes for their anti particlepairs. A proton or any baryon has a total of three quarks inside of it. Quarks are held in protonsand other particles by gluons which are interacting particles whose pulling force is increased thefarther the quark is from the center of the particle. This makes it nye on impossible to isolate asingle quark. To date we have never actually seen a quark by itself.
  4. 4. BaryonsBaryons are some of the most massive particlesin the particle zoo. On the right you can see twoof the most well known particles, which alsohappen to be baryons. They are the proton andneutron. Each baryon has three quarks in it andeach quark has something called baryoniccharge. Every quark has a baryonic charge of1/3, making a proton which has three quarkshave a baryonic charge of one. Baryons are alsopart of a group called the Hadrons which arecomposite particles made up of quarks. Themesons also share the distinction of being in thisgroup.
  5. 5. Mesons Mesons are very interesting particles. They are classified in the same group as baryons (the Hadrons group) which means that mesons are also made out of quarks. But unlike baryons, mesons are made up of one regular quark and one anti-quark making mesons their own anti-particle. Talk about not liking your relatives. Some mesons are very massive, even more massive than the proton. Mesons are not all very massive as there is the pion, which is the least massive meson. Mesons are also very unstable, lasting no longer than a few hundredths of a microsecond.
  6. 6. LeptonsLeptons are fundamental particles and contain no quarks. Leptons include sixdifferent particles which are the tau, the muon, the electron, tau-neutrino,muon-neutrino, and the electron-neutrino. The electron is most likely the mostwell known lepton. It is found whizzing around the nucleus or the center ofatoms. The second most well known lepton is the neutrino which is a very weakinteracting particle. Neutrinos are created as a byproduct of the nuclear fusioninside of stars and right now there is about 65 billion solar neutrinos passingthrough every square centimeter perpendicular to the direction of the sun everysecond.
  7. 7. Bosons FermionsBosons are social particles, that Fermions are anti-social particles,include the pion, which is a meson. that include quarks, leptons, andIn fact all mesons are bosons, the baryons. These are all fermions,reason behind this is that all particles because they all have an oddthat have an even number of quarks number of quarks. Fermions areare boson. Bosons are very social “anti-social” because they followparticles which means that two the exclusion principal, which saysidentical bosons can occupy the that no two identical fermions cansame state of motion at the same occupy the same state of motiontime and “prefer” to. at the same time.
  8. 8. The Higgs Boson The Higgs Boson is a theoretical particle that creates the Higgs field, which gives particles their mass. The Higgs boson may have been detected at the Large Hadron Collider this year. The Higgs is very unstable, decaying into other particles almost immediately. It has no spin, electric charge, or color charge and is classified as a boson.Quarks Gluons
  9. 9. Sources:Ford, W. Kenneth. The QuantumWorld, Quantum Physics forEveryone. Cambridge MA: HarvardUniversity Press, 2004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_b oson. Higgs Boson-Wikipedia. Access date, 12/4/12.

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