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Elementary particles

Elementary particles

Matter is made up by quarks and leptons, while interactions are carried by bosons.

Physics

Keywords

elementary particles, LHC, CERN, standard model, quantum physics, quantum mechanics, graviton, particle accelerator, weak interaction, Higgs boson, nucleon, nucleus, lepton, proton, neutron, boson, neutrino, electron, muon, photon, gluon, strong interaction, particle physics, subatomic, antiparticle, quantum, particle, atom, quark, tau, electromagnetic, fermion, electron orbital, electron shell, interaction, physics

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Scenes

  • - It consists of two u (up) quarks and one d (down) quark. The color charge of these three quarks is different: g (green), r (red) and b (blue), therefore protons (as other particles made up by quarks) are ‘white’, their color charge is zero. The electric charge of u quarks is +2/3 while that of d quarks is -1/3, therefore the electric charge of protons is 2/3+2/3-1/3=+1.
  • - It consists of one u (up) quark and two d (down) quarks. The color charge of these three quarks is different: g (green), r (red) and b (blue), therefore neutrons (as other particles made up by quarks) are ‘white’, their color charge is zero. The electric charge of u quarks is +2/3 while that of d quarks is -1/3, therefore the electric charge of neutrons is 2/3-1/3-1/3=0.
  • - Quarks carry one of the three possible color charges (g, r, b). Particles that consist of quarks are always ‘white’, their color charge is neutral. Protons and neutrons contain one quark of each color. The size of quarks is ‹ 10 ¯ m.
  • - Quarks carry one of the three possible color charges (g, r, b). Particles that consist of quarks are always ‘white’, their color charge is neutral. Protons and neutrons contain one quark of each color. The size of quarks is ‹ 10 ¯ m.
  • - Quarks carry one of the three possible color charges (g, r, b). Particles that consist of quarks are always ‘white’, their color charge is neutral. Protons and neutrons contain one quark of each color. The size of quarks is ‹ 10 ¯ m.
  • - Nucleons (protons and neutrons) are made up by u (up) and d (down) quarks. A proton consists of two u (up) quarks and one d (down) quark. A neutron consists of one u (up) quark and two d (down) quarks. Quarks carry color charge, which is independent of their type. Both u and d quarks can carry blue, red or green color charge.
  • - Nucleons (protons and neutrons) are made up by u (up) and d (down) quarks. A proton consists of two u (up) quarks and one d (down) quark. A neutron consists of one u (up) quark and two d (down) quarks. Quarks carry color charge, which is independent of their type. Both u and d quarks can carry blue, red or green color charge.

  • - Fundamental constituents of matter. They carry electrical charge (-1/3 or 2/3). They combine to form hadrons, the two types of which are mesons and baryons. Baryons include nucleons, that is protons and neutrons. They carry one of the three possible color charges (g,r, b). Particles that consist of quarks are always ‘white’, their color charge is neutral. Nucleons contain one quark of each color while other baryons contain a quark and its antiquark (the antiparticle of quarks). The quark carries a certain color, while the other carries its anticolor (such as r and anti r). Quark-antiquark pairs are called mesons. The existence of quarks was predicted by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig.
  • - They are the most common type of neutrinos and they make up Type I matter. Their existence was predicted by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, based on his studies of beta-decay and the law of conservation of energy. They have been detected in 1956. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.
  • - They are building blocks of Type II matter and are not as common as electron neutrinos. They have been detected in 1962. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.
  • - They are building blocks of Type III matter and are not as common as electron neutrinos and muons. They have been detected in 2000. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.

  • - They are the most common type of neutrinos and they make up Type I matter. Their existence was predicted by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, based on his studies of beta-decay and the law of conservation of energy. They have been detected in 1956. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.
  • - They are building blocks of Type II matter and are not as common as electron neutrinos. They have been detected in 1962. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.
  • - They are building blocks of Type III matter and are not as common as electron neutrinos and muons. They have been detected in 2000. Neutrinos are particles that do not carry electric charge and have a very tiny mass. Their anti-particles are called anti-neutrinos. In the Universe they occur in very large quantities - every second billions of neutrinos pass through every square centimeter of our bodies. Their presence, however, is difficult to detect; since they are able to pass through materials unimpeded, they rarely interact. The reason for this is that neutrinos are affected only by the weak interaction and gravity, which is negligible on the subatomic level.

Narration

Before the 20th century atoms were thought to be indivisible. Today, however, we know that atoms are in fact made up of smaller particles called electrons, protons and neutrons. The size of atoms is on the order of 10⁻¹⁰ m.

Negatively charged electrons make up electron shells. The size of the positively charged nuclei is about 10⁻¹⁴ m, one ten-thousandth of the diameter of an atom. Atoms are composed of protons and neutrons, known as nucleons.

Protons carry one positive elementary charge while neutrons are electrically neutral. For this reason, nuclei are positively charged.

In 1964 Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig suggested that nucleons are not elementary particles, they are themselves composed of smaller particles called quarks. The existence of quarks has since been proved by research.

Quarks are bound together by strong force (or interaction), mediated by gluons. They are called gluons because they ‘glue quarks together’ and make nucleons extremely stable. Therefore nucleons can only be split into quarks and gluons under extreme conditions - such as during the first few microseconds after the Big Bang. The LHC, the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle accelerator, was designed to simulate these conditions.

One of the inherent properties of quarks is color charge. A quark's color can take one of three values or charges: red, green, or blue. Nucleons contain one quark of each color, therefore they are ‘white’, that is, their net color charge is neutral.

Quarks that make up nucleons can be either ‘up’ (u) quarks or ‘down’ (d) quarks. A proton consists of two u quarks and one d quark, while a neutron consists of one up quark and two down quarks. Both types can be red, blue or green. The electrical charge of up quarks is +2/3, while that of down quarks is -1/3. The charges of neutrons and protons are given by the sum of the charges of the quarks.

There are several other types of elementary particles described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The three groups of elementary particles are quarks, leptons and bosons.

Leptons include neutrinos and electrons. Quarks and leptons are the building blocks of matter, which exist in three types. The most common, Type I matter is made up of up and down quarks, electrons and electron neutrinos.

Bosons mediate interactions. Gluons carry the strong interaction which acts on quarks and binds them together within nucleons. This interaction also prevents nuclei from splitting up despite the repulsive forces between its positively charged components.

Photons mediate electromagnetic interaction which acts on electrically charged particles. Quarks and certain leptons (including electrons) carry an electrical charge.


Z and W bosons are responsible for weak interaction, which also plays an important role in radioactive beta decay. Weak interaction affects all the quarks and leptons.

The Standard Model only includes bosons that mediate strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions, but this does not explain gravity. The hypothetical mediator of gravity is called the graviton, which has not yet been detected. The Higgs boson is responsible for the mass of particles and bodies made up of particles. Gravity affects particles through their mass.

The Higgs boson, often called ‘the God particle’, was the last of the bosons included in the Standard Model to be identified in the Large Hadron Collider, which had been built partly for this purpose.

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