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11.1 Introduction to Particle Physics

  • The four fundamental forces of nature are, in order of strength: strong nuclear, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and gravitational. Quarks interact via the strong force, but leptons do not. Both quark and leptons interact via the electromagnetic, weak, and gravitational forces.
  • Elementary particles are classified into fermions and boson. Fermions have half-integral spin and obey the exclusion principle. Bosons have integral spin and do not obey this principle. Bosons are the force carriers of particle interactions.
  • Quarks and leptons belong to particle families composed of three members each. Members of a family share many properties (charge, spin, participation in forces) but not mass.
  • All particles have antiparticles. Particles share the same properties as their antimatter particles, but carry opposite charge.

11.2 Particle Conservation Laws

  • Elementary particle interactions are governed by particle conservation laws, which can be used to determine what particle reactions and decays are possible (or forbidden).
  • The baryon number conservation law and the three lepton number conversation law are valid for all physical processes. However, conservation of strangeness is valid only for strong nuclear interactions and electromagnetic interactions.

11.3 Quarks

  • Six known quarks exist: up (u), down (d), charm (c), strange (s), top (t), and bottom (b). These particles are fermions with half-integral spin and fractional charge.
  • Baryons consist of three quarks, and mesons consist of a quark-antiquark pair. Due to the strong force, quarks cannot exist in isolation.
  • Evidence for quarks is found in scattering experiments.

11.4 Particle Accelerators and Detectors

  • Many types of particle accelerators have been developed to study particles and their interactions. These include linear accelerators, cyclotrons, synchrotrons, and colliding beams.
  • Colliding beam machines are used to create massive particles that decay quickly to lighter particles.
  • Multipurpose detectors are used to design all aspects of high-energy collisions. These include detectors to measure the momentum and energies of charge particles and photons.
  • Charged particles are measured by bending these particles in a circle by a magnetic field.
  • Particles are measured using calorimeters that absorb the particles.

11.5 The Standard Model

  • The Standard Model describes interactions between particles through the strong nuclear, electromagnetic, and weak nuclear forces.
  • Particle interactions are represented by Feynman diagrams. A Feynman diagram represents interactions between particles on a space-time graph.
  • Electromagnetic forces act over a long range, but strong and weak forces act over a short range. These forces are transmitted between particles by sending and receiving bosons.
  • Grand unified theories seek an understanding of the universe in terms of just one force.

11.6 The Big Bang

  • The universe is expanding like a balloon—every point is receding from every other point.
  • Distant galaxies move away from us at a velocity proportional to its distance. This rate is measured to be approximately 70 km/s/Mpc. Thus, the farther galaxies are from us, the greater their speeds. These “recessional velocities” can be measure using the Doppler shift of light.
  • According to current cosmological models, the universe began with the Big Bang approximately 13.7 billion years ago.

11.7 Evolution of the Early Universe

  • The early universe was hot and dense.
  • The universe is isotropic and expanding.
  • Cosmic background radiation is evidence for the Big Bang.
  • The vast portion of the mass and energy of the universe is not well understood.
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