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Physics

# Key Terms

PhysicsKey Terms
$W + W +$ boson
positive carrier particle of the weak nuclear force
$W − W −$ boson
negative carrier particle of the weak nuclear force
$Z 0 Z 0$ boson
neutral carrier particle of the weak nuclear force
annihilation
the process of destruction that occurs when a particle and antiparticle interact
antimatter
matter constructed of antiparticles; antimatter shares most of the same properties of regular matter, with charge being the only difference between many particles and their antiparticle analogues
baryon
hadrons that always decay to another baryon
Big Bang
a gigantic explosion that threw out matter a few billion years ago
bottom quark
a quark flavor
carrier particle
a virtual particle exchanged in the transmission of a fundamental force
charmed quark
a quark flavor, which is the counterpart of the strange quark
colliding beam
head-on collisions between particles moving in opposite directions
color
a property of quarks the relates to their interactions through the strong force
cyclotron
accelerator that uses fixed-frequency alternating electric fields and fixed magnets to accelerate particles in a circular spiral path
down quark
the second lightest of all quarks
Electroweak Epoch
the stage before 10−11 back to 10−34 seconds after the Big Bang
electroweak theory
theory showing connections between EM and weak forces
Feynman diagram
a graph of time versus position that describes the exchange of virtual particles between subatomic particles
flavor
quark type
gluons
exchange particles of the nuclear strong force
Grand Unification Epoch
the time period from 10−43 to 10−34 seconds after the Big Bang, when Grand Unification Theory, in which all forces except gravity are identical, governed the universe
Grand Unified Theory
theory that shows unification of the strong and electroweak forces
graviton
hypothesized particle exchanged between two particles of mass, transmitting the gravitational force between them
hadron
particles composed of quarks that feel the strong and weak nuclear force
Higgs boson
a massive particle that provides mass to the weak bosons and provides validity to the theory that carrier particles are identical under certain circumstances
Higgs field
the field through which all fundamental particles travel that provides them varying mass through the transport of the Higgs boson
Inflationary Epoch
the rapid expansion of the universe by an incredible factor of 10−50 for the brief time from 10−35 to about 10−32 seconds
lepton
fundamental particles that do not feel the nuclear strong force
meson
hadrons that can decay to leptons and leave no hadrons
pair production
the creation of a particle and antiparticle, commonly an electron and positron, due to the annihilation of a photon
particle physics
the study of and the quest for those truly fundamental particles having no substructure
pion
particle exchanged between nucleons, transmitting the strong nuclear force between them
Planck Epoch
the earliest era of the universe, before 10–43 seconds after the Big Bang
positron
a particle of antimatter that has the properties of a positively charged electron
quantum chromodynamics
the theory of color interaction between quarks that leads to understanding of the nuclear strong force
quantum electrodynamics
the theory of electromagnetism on the particle scale
quark
an elementary particle and fundamental constituent of matter that is a substructure of hadrons
Quark Era
the time period from 10–11 to 10–6 seconds at which all four fundamental forces are separated and quarks begin to exit
Standard Model
an organization of fundamental particles and forces that is a result of quantum chromodynamics and electroweak theory
strange quark
the third lightest of all quarks
superforce
the unification of all four fundamental forces into one force
synchrotron
a version of a cyclotron in which the frequency of the alternating voltage and the magnetic field strength are increased as the beam particles are accelerated
Theory of Everything
the theory that shows unification of all four fundamental forces
top quark
a quark flavor
up quark
the lightest of all quarks
weak nuclear force
fundamental force responsible for particle decay
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