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Quantum Mechanics: Properties Of Elementary Particles ... Quantum Mechanics (Chapter 5): Properties of Elementary/Fundamental Particles. --- Please SUBSCRIBE to Science & Reason: • • • --- PARTICLE PHYSICS Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the elementary constituents of matter and radiation, and the interactions between them. It is also called high energy physics, because many elementary particles do not occur under normal circumstances in nature, but can be created and detected during energetic collisions of other particles, as is done in particle accelerators. Research in this area has produced a long list of particles. SUBATOMIC PARTICLES Modern particle physics research is focused on subatomic particles, including atomic constituents such as electrons, protons, and neutrons (protons and neutrons are actually composite particles, made up of quarks), particles produced by radioactive and scattering processes, such as photons, neutrinos, and muons, as well as a wide range of exotic particles. Strictly speaking, the term particle is a misnomer because the dynamics of particle physics are governed by quantum mechanics. As such, they exhibit wave-particle duality, displaying particle-like behavior under certain experimental conditions and wave-like behavior in others (more technically they are described by state vectors in a Hilbert space; see quantum field theory). Following the convention of particle physicists, "elementary particles" refer to objects such as electrons and photons, it is well known that these "particles" display wave-like properties as well. All the particles and their interactions observed to date can almost be described entirely by a quantum field theory called the Standard Model. The Standard Model has 17 species of elementary particles (12 fermions (24 if you count antiparticles separately), 4 vector bosons (5 if you count antiparticles separately), and 1 scalar bosons), which can combine to form composite particles, accounting for the hundreds of other species of particles discovered since the 1960s. The Standard Model has been found to agree with almost all the experimental tests conducted to date. However, most particle physicists believe that it is an incomplete description of nature, and that a more fundamental theory awaits discovery. In recent years, measurements of neutrino mass have provided the first experimental deviations from the Standard Model. Particle physics has had a large impact on the philosophy of science. Some particle physicists adhere to reductionism, a point of view that has been criticized and defended by philosophers and scientists. Part of the debate is described below. THE STANDARD MODEL The current state of the classification of elementary particles is the Standard Model. It describes the strong, weak, and electromagnetic fundamental forces, using mediating gauge bosons. The species of gauge bosons are the gluons, W? and W+ and Z bosons, and the photons. The model also contains 24 fundamental particles, which are the constituents of matter. Finally, it predicts the existence of a type of boson known as the Higgs boson, which is yet to be discovered. • ELEMENTARY PARTICLES In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle not known to have substructure; that is, it is not known to be made up of smaller particles. If an elementary particle truly has no substructure, then it is one of the basic building blocks of the universe from which all other particles are made. In the Standard Model, the quarks, leptons, and gauge bosons are elementary particles. Historically, the hadrons (mesons and baryons such as the proton and neutron) and even whole atoms were once regarded as elementary particles. A central feature in elementary particle theory is the early 20th century idea of "quanta", which revolutionised the understanding of electromagnetic radiation and brought about quantum mechanics. For mathematical purposes, elementary particles are normally treated as point particles, although some particle theories such as string theory posit a physical dimension. • --- The Cassiopeia Project - making science simple! The Cassiopeia Project is an effort to make high quality science videos available to everyone. If you can visualize it, then understanding is not far behind. • .
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