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Information about Quarks

Published on May 7, 2008

Author: JonHelan



Quarks: The stuff of matter. : Quarks: The stuff of matter. A brief history of quantum mechanics. 1940’s – 1980’s. How it started. : How it started. The Neutrino : The Neutrino As far as I could tell from this book, the very first problem that spurred the “momentum” of quantum mechanics was a very intriguing equation. Most, if not all of you have had a chemistry class and have no doubt heard of neutron radioactive decay, or ß decay. This is what you were shown. At least, this is what I was taught: A Neutron decays into a proton and an electron. The charge becomes positive, and also shoots off a negatively charged electron. But, thanks to the keen eye of physicists, they realized something was wrong: the conservation of energy… Slide 4: I will draw these, and explain them on the board. . . . But I first have to explain the parts. Neutrino to Quark : Neutrino to Quark The next step that happened in quantum mechanics was fascinating to physicists everywhere. It was the first glimpse at how complex our world really, really is. You could relate it to the discovery of the accelerating universe or “super cluster” galaxies, except this was quite the opposite scale. When the first quantum collider was built, the very first task on it’s list was to probe the innards of a neutron. In fact, that was its only task. Until they actually did it. What they saw was this: The Quark Discovery : The Quark Discovery Lets go back a bit again, to why they were looking for quarks. When scientists would shoot certain objects with electron beams, most would hit and reflect off at the same angle. Like shown in this picture. But some wouldn’t. So… what? : So… what? To scientists this seemed disturbing. Even with a polished completely flat surface, the electrons would still bounce off at odd angles. But why? Here’s an illustration. Electron Neutron Physicists believed there were sub-particles to the neutron, letting the electrons reflect at off-angles not predicted by smooth surfaces. So let’s re-address this picture. : So let’s re-address this picture. What is indicated at the bottom left by “n” is a neutron. With the discovery of sub-particles within a neutron, scientists quickly measured and categorized many sub-atomic particles. A “u” stands for up-quark, “d” stands for down. As you can see, a neutron consists of one up quark, and two down. A proton on the other hand, is made of two ups and one down. What beta decay really is, is a down quark converting into an up quark. What happens next is extremely odd, and nobody completely understands, but what is called a W- Boson is released as a reaction, and as indicated by the graph moves forward and backward through time. The W- Boson isn’t stable, and decays into a proton and an electon anti-neutrino. For some reason unbeknownst to me, some graphs show the Electron anti-neutrino coming into the W- boson, and others show it going out… More… : More… Slide 11: This is the basics of what I learned. The book was very factual, and based mostly on the history of quantum mechanics, and not the underlying concepts. I hope this didn’t bore you! Slide 12:

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