Questions tagged [particle-physics]

For questions about Particle Physics - a branch of Physics that studies the nature of the particles that constitute matter and radiation

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Was there a period of doubt in the history of the Higgs mechanism?

As the LHC begins its second run this year, the physics community seems to be significantly split between those who are confident that SUSY exists and those who believe it doesn't, given its failure ...
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10 votes
2 answers
296 views

Who predicted the existence of the muon neutrino?

The Wikipedia article on the muon neutrino says: The muon neutrino is a lepton, an elementary subatomic particle which has the symbol $\nu_\mu$ and no net electric charge. Together with the muon it ...
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Why don't we name the Higgs boson a "higgson"?

We have fermions (named after Fermi) and bosons (named after Bose). Why don't we name the particle corresponding to the Higgs field a "higgson"? The superpartner particle (sparticle) of the Higgs ...
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Where did the naming structure of particles come from (suffix -on)?

I was looking at a list of particles, and I noticed that many of them ended in -on. Proton, electron, neutron, lepton, etc. Is there a historical (or linguistic) reason behind this naming structure?
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9 votes
1 answer
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What theories preceded the wave, particles and duality models of light?

Currently, the wave-particle duality model for light is the accepted model. From HyperPhysics: The evidence for the description of light as waves was well established at the turn of the century ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Who did say that anyone who discover a new particle should be fined instead of receiving a prize?

I am almost sure I read once that a famous physicist said that anyone who discover a new particle should be fined instead of receiving a prize. The context was that at the time there was more and more ...
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7 votes
1 answer
135 views

When the Superconducting Super Collider was built, was the future of the site planned for?

The Superconducting Super Collider was the greatest experiment that was never built. It was cancelled in 1993 after years of planning and effort, during which there was some construction of facilities....
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6 votes
1 answer
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How did J. J. Thomson establish the particle nature of the electron?

In its article about how the electron was discovered, Wikipedia says that Thomson and his students performed experiments which suggested that cathode rays were negatively charged "particles". But even ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Did classical physicists feel ill-at-ease about point charges?

The point charge concept is clearly a very useful mathematical fiction, but it is also problematic from the point of view of "physical intuition". Even a layperson would feel that an explanation is ...
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5 votes
1 answer
425 views

Where did the term "tauon" come from?

The tau particle (so named because it was the third charged lepton, behind the electron and muon) was discovered in the 1970s by Martin Perl and colleagues. In one of the SLAC papers, Perl refers to ...
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In which paper did the typical textbook diagrams of the Millikan experiment appear the first time?

There are two typical visualizations for one of the results of the Millikan oil-drop experiment to illustrate that only integer multiples of some elementary charge occur in nature. The first one is as ...
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Did breaking of discrete symmetries play a role in the development of steady-state cosmology?

If you look at the original pair of 1948 papers[Bondi 1948,Hoyle 1948] that proposed the steady-state model, it's clear that they knew they were throwing out a lot of cherished principles of physics. ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Significance of Higgs model used in Glashow-Salam-Weinberg theory

Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam, and Steven Weinberg propose the unification of the weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg proposed the model ...
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1 answer
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Who coined the 'particle zoo' expression?

I've been looking for the origin of the 'particle zoo' expression but so far failed to track down who first used it or at least who popularized it.
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is there a source for a footnote in *A Canticle for Leibowitz* about the definition of the electron, "Negative Twist of Nothingness"

In a French edition of Fiat Homo (first part of A Canticle for Leibowitz) I found the following footnote about the definition of the electron given by Brother Francis to another monk, namely “Torsion ...
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1 answer
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How was proton determined to be a common component of all atoms?

Based on what I know of the discovery of positive charges, Thompson measured the $e/m$ ratio of various nuclei and their $e/m$ ratio (charge-to-mass ratio) was not constant. People did not know ...
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3 votes
1 answer
704 views

How was the spontaneous symmetry breaking introduced and how did it lead to the Higgs mechanism?

I'm looking for the way things were connected. It seems me to that it was like this: Spontaneous symmetry breakdown was detected in condensed matter physics. (I'm not sure of facts here) Later it ...
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How did Rutherford detect the deflected alpha particles?

All I know is that detecting the deflecting alpha particles was a very tedious process, so much so that that was probably one reason why he asked Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden to do the experiment. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
95 views

In which article did the physicist Sheldon Glashow introduce his electroweak theory?

In which article did Glashow introduce (1961?) a unified description of the electromagnetic and weak interactions, i.e., the electroweak interaction that earned him the Nobel prize in physics?
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2 votes
1 answer
230 views

Why was the idea of anti-particles having negative mass abandoned?

In Dirac's 1938 paper on classically radiating electrons, he writes: Secondly we have the idea of the positron... in which positive and negative values for the mass of an electron play symmetrical ...
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2 votes
1 answer
115 views

When was the quantization of spin discovered? [duplicate]

When was the fact that a spin could only have values S = n/2 derived? I cannot find any source that says when.
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2 votes
1 answer
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How did Stern-Gerlach experiment change the concept of space quantization and electron spin?

I got confused by a question which is : "How did Stern-Gerlach experiment change the concept of space quantization and electron spin?" Its the question asked in our ...
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1 answer
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Were Feynman diagrams important for the creation of the electroweak theory?

Feynman diagrams representing the interactions of subatomic particles were introduced by Richard Feynman in 1948. The first published Feynman diagram appeared in Physical Review in 1949. Did Feynman ...
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2 votes
0 answers
24 views

Who invented the quadrupole lens for charged particles?

I am wondering who actually invented the (magnetic) quadrupole lens or who used it for the first time. I have found some papers from the 50s and 60s about more complicated systems based on Quadrupoles,...
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2 votes
0 answers
58 views

Difference between Perrin's and J. J. Thomson's experiment

In J. J. Thomson's paper (Phil. Mag. S. 5. Vol. 44. No. 269. Oct. 1897) concerned with cathode rays, Thomson writes, that the experiment by Perrin that supposedly proves that cathode rays are made of ...
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1 vote
4 answers
418 views

Did scientists at some point believe that *everything* is made out of atoms?

Did scientists at some point believe that everything is made out of atoms? Or were atoms always accompanied by other "elementary particles"? I myself did not realize that there existed other "...
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1 vote
1 answer
209 views

How were particle physics calculations done before Feynman diagrams?

I've seen and read that calculations before Feynman diagrams involved solving differential equations, but I can't find sample calculations like these. I've read that they would take months and pages ...
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1 vote
0 answers
46 views

What was Higgs' attitude towards his own mechanism?

Higgs invented a mechanism to endow quarks and leptons an W- and Z-particles with mass. If a particle is massless though then how can it be slowed down by interacting with another particle? Maybe the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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What inspired the use of the term "gauge" in gauge theories?

Gauge theories in physics are theories that introduce extra fields, the mediating fields, after the non-mediated fields are gauged. Now to gauge something means that you set some reference point from ...
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1 vote
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Did aesthetics play a role in the construction of the Standard Model?

The Standard Model is a sophisticated mathematical framework to capture the behavior of elementary particles. It is a dream castle which is built on loose sand and every change in its construction or ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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When the concept of "Ultraviolet completion" of a low energy effective theory first arose?

In modern view any quantum field theory that has any reason (mathematical or physical) to not be tenable at some short length scale is assumed to be replaced by a more fundamental theory, that we call ...
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Looking for the source of a quote in QFT history

Since it is a strictly physics-related quote i thought this was the best place to ask. It goes something like: "There are no particles, only fields", to which X replied "there are no ...
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Quote about the history of particle physics

I have a (very) vague remembrance of a quote about the history of particle physics, particularly (I think?) the development of the standard model. As I recall, it was about how it was a very exciting ...
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Who described the weak interaction as a non-contact force?

It is known that Enrico Fermi described the weak interaction as a four-fermion contact interaction, and Steven Weinberg, Sheldon L. Glashow and Abdus Salam developed the electroweak theory, in which ...
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0 votes
0 answers
64 views

When was the bitter controversy between Ehrenhaft and Millikan ended?

Felix Ehrenhaft made a claim that he saw electric charges smaller than an electron. In that respect he was ahead of his time. Far ahead, as quarks haven't been detected yet directly. His measurements ...
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Why was the attitude towards hadrons different from the attitude towards quarks and leptons these days?

The quark model was introduced to explain the variety of hadrons. Experiments could be done to test this. These days you could have the same attitude towards quarks and leptons. I mean to consider a ...
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0 votes
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Dirac and proton-electron annihilation

Wikipedia says: Robert Oppenheimer argued strongly against the proton being the negative-energy electron solution to Dirac's equation. He asserted that if it were, the hydrogen atom would rapidly ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
212 views

Why wasn't madam Wu awarded a Nobel Prize?

In landmark experiment in physics Wu discovered that Nature has a preference for right or left. It were the proposers of this asymmetry though who ran away with the the Nobel prize. Madam Wu wasn't ...
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