Fundamental Particles Fact File

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The Fundamental Particles

  • All matter is made out of Quarks and Leptons
  • For any kind of matter particle there is an antimatter particle (AKA antiparticle)
  • Antiparticles have the same mass, but the opposite charge of their corresponding matter particles.
  • When a particle and antiparticle collide they 'annihilate' into pure energy.
  • This energy can then turn back into matter and antimatter in equal amounts.

Quarks

  • There are 6 types of quarks: up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm quarks
  • Baryons are composite particles made out of quarks. There are two types: baryons and mesons.
  • Hadrons are made out of three quarks whilst mesons are made out of one quark and one antiquark (pions, kaons etc.)
  • Both neutrons and protons are made up of three quarks each (making them baryon)
  • Protons are made of two up quarks and one down quark.
  • Neutrons are made up of one up quark and two down quarks.
  • These quark compositions are what give the proton its characteristic +1 charge and neutrons their no-charge. Up quarks have a fractional charge of 2/3 an down quarks have a fractional charge of -1/3
  • Within a nucleus, up quarks can change into a down quark or vis versa, changing a proton into a neutron (or vis versa)
  • If this occurs, then there is residual energy (either positive or negative) that converts into an electron or positron
  • E.g. if an up quark in a proton changes into a down quark a neutron is formed. Since the up quark had a charge of 2/3 and now is a down quark which has a charge of -1/3, overall there has been a charge change of -1, which manifests itself in the form of an electron - the fundamental particle that has a charge of -1
  • If the opposite occurs, and a down quark turns into an up quark, an overall charge of +1 is present, which manifests itself in a positron

Leptons

  • Just like quarks there are 6 leptons
  • Three of these lepton types have a negative charge of -1. They are the electron, tau and muon
  • Muons and Taus have a lot more mass than electrons and decay whilst electrons do not
  • The other three types of leptons are called neutrinos and as such have no charge
  • Neutrinos also have very little mass and like electrons do not decay
  • Each type of charged lepton has a corresponding neutrino.

Decay

  • When a Tau or Muon decays, one of the particles it decays into is always its corresponding neutrino.
  • As well as this neutrino, energy is released and this turns into matter and antimatter that results in an 'electron number', 'muon number', and 'tao number' of 0 e.g. an electron and an electron antineutrino.
  • The above law is what determines why some decays are possible and some aren't. Another factor that controls whether a decay is possible or not is the conservation of energy e.g. an electron cannot decay into a muon or tao lepton.
  • As well as a neutrino, the Tau or Muon will decay into either a quark and its antiquark or a different lepton and its antineutrino

Electron, Muon and Tao Numbers and Groups

 
Electron Number
Muon Number
Tao Number
Electron
1
0
0
Electron Neutrino
1
0
0
Positron
-1
0
0
Electron Antineutrino
-1
0
0
Muon
0
1
0
Muon Neutrino
0
1
0
Anti-muon
0
-1
0
Muon Antineutrino
0
-1
0
Tao
0
0
1
Tao Neutrino
0
0
1
Anti-tau
0
0
-1
Tao Antineutrino
0
0
-1

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Comments 16 comments

ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

This is a great compendium on particles.

Maybe you could get a little advanced by defining what is light, and what particles are contained in light.

The conundrum of whether light is a wave or a particle, may just be because we just don't understand sub atomic details. Science likes to set up classes and pigeon hole things, but if they have the wrong classes or the wrong boxes to put them in they may not be on the right track.

What is your opinion.

Thanks


harold 3 years ago

This is extremely useful and I have very much enjoyed reading your hub


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Hahah thank you 'Harold'!


Rosie writes profile image

Rosie writes 3 years ago from Virginia

Very unique hub. I am teaching my 4th graders about electrons and protons now in our unit about electricity.


mbyL profile image

mbyL 3 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

Yet another useful hub. Really good for physic students to get a first overview on a quite complex topic ;) Shared and tweeted too!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much to you both! The support is very much appreciated :)


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Philanthropy2012

I guess you don't have an opinion.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

My apologies Ib Radmasters, I forgot to answer your question.

I kind of agree with you in the sense that I believe there may be fundamental mistakes that we're making in physics but of course it's a 'do the best we can with what we've got situation' that we're dealing with.

The following link seems to explain what we currently think quite well and I find it believable, the idea that the wave of light collapses into a photon upon impact seems feasible?

What do you think?

Philanthropy,


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Philanthropy2012

Thanks for the reply.

I think that we are off on a lot of our theories basically because we have made the wrong classification, and then we try to stuff our theories around it.

A light wave that becomes a photon, solves the question but is it the real answer?

That would be treating light the way the we treat water.

Water depending on its temperature can be a gas, liquid or a solid.

Therefore depending on the temperature it act differently.

So a light wave of unknown composition than hitting an object collapses into a photon. The bending of light, and the refraction of light is an impact, but it breaks up the wave.

Reflected light is then an anomaly of impact, because it has impact, but then continues as a wave.

Then how do we treat coherent light?

I believe that this lack of having the correct classification for light is the same reason why we don't have a grand unification theory.

It is also my belief why we have mathematical constants that have ridiculous unusable decimal fractions.

String theory is a great example of misclassification, in that scientists put everything in a box and then realize that they can come up with an answer, so they fantasize about adding other dimensions that will make an answer out of the box. Eleven dimensions for string theory, then we have to redefine a singularity.

Just my thought, Thanks


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

acts

then

can't

word errors in my last comment


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Despite the obvious flaws of modern physics, I still always find it fascinating how we as self-aware and at times very primitive beings have come so far in understanding, or at least hypothesising, the very core of what our universe is.

I find Physics to be the purest form of knowledge since this knowledge remains as magnificent and grand as it will always be, regardless of humanity or not.

It almost seems to me that we are understanding things that are far beyond us, and that makes me proud to be human.

Thank you for your input ib radmasters, interesting as always.

Philanthropy


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Phianthropy2012

I was hoping for a comment from you on my opinion.

I agree with what you said in your comment, but it really didn't address the comment that I made in response to your question about what did I think.

Physics is not a fact, it is a contemporary consensus of what we know at the current date, or at least what we think that we know that hasn't been proven to be false.

Applied physics is more foundationsal than theoretical physics.

Any theory is valid until it it proven to be false.

Thanks


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Well Ib there really isn't much for me to say concerning your opinion, you stated that treating light as both a particle and a wave is unsatisfactory because we don't really have an explanation for how it could be so - this is of course a fundamental problem and there is no arguing against that.

Concerning your point about wrong classifications, the problem of course is that we don't have the right classification because we cannot explain what it is we are observing. We observe that light has particular properties and it seems like it has the properties of two different classifications that we use. The problem is that that is all we know and thus our poor classification is only as good as it can be.

Also, [any theory is valid until it is proven to be false] is not strictly true, that is only true for theories that we know are fallible. Infallible theories where we simply can never disprove it (like God's existence, spaghetti monster etc.) are not 'valid theories' for this reason.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Philanthropy2012

I give up.

I give you a detailed specific set of arguments, and you choose to state generalities.

You win, I won't bother you again.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

I fail to see where the specificity of your argument lies.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

My premise

---------------

I think that we are off on a lot of our theories basically because we have made the wrong classification, and then we try to stuff our theories around it.

Example

----------

A light wave that becomes a photon, solves the question but is it the real answer?

1. That would be treating light the way the we treat water.

2. Water depending on its temperature can be a gas, liquid or a solid.

3. Therefore depending on the temperature it act differently.

Example

-----------

So a light wave of unknown composition hits an object collapses into a photon.

1. The bending of light, and the refraction of light is an impact, but it breaks up the wave.

2. Reflected light is then an anomaly of impact, because it has impact, but then continues as a wave.

3. Then how do we treat coherent light?

Conclusion

--------------

1. I believe that this lack of having the correct classification for light is the same reason why we don't have a grand unification theory.

Classifications and mathematical constants are similar in that theyare plugs to fill theories.

Reason

---------

1. It is also my belief why we have mathematical constants that have ridiculous unusable decimal fractions.

2. String theory is a great example of misclassification, in that scientists put everything in a box and then realize that they can't come up with an answer, so they fantasize about adding other dimensions that will make an answer out of the box. Eleven dimensions for string theory, then we have to redefine a singularity

The comment is all about why the classification of current theories can't be joined into a grand unification theory.

The classification is like finding the least common denominator, and until you do that, you can't solve the equation.

Thanks.

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