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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » The poetry of subatomic particles (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

panlives
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"The Higgs boson, which scientists at Cern appear to be homing in on after 45 years, gets its name, as everyone knows, from British physicist Peter Higgs, one of the first to propose its existence.

But what about the other part of this great name - boson? This, in fact, is also named after a physicist, Einstein's Indian contemporary, Satyendra Nath Bose.

Physicists from Russia to California have given lots of curious and sometimes poetic names to the subatomic particles discovered over the last century or so. Here are 10 of them.":


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18708741
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
MobilityBundle
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At some point, the marketing department took over the names for particles. Probably one of the best recruiting decisions that was ever (not consciously?) made. The sentence "a subnucleon emitted a bound state of force carriers" may pique some people's curiousity, but "the quark spat out a glueball" probably does a better job.

In addition to those mentioned on the list, I always liked supersymmetric partner names. Supersymmetry is this idea that gives all particles a "supersymmetric partner." It's similar to the idea of matter and antimatter: protons have anti-protons, electrons have positrons, etc. Some particles are their own antiparticle: photons (the particles of light), for example.

The supersymmetric partner of any particle is always different from the particle itself, and no supersymmetric partners have yet been observed. Just as they prefix "anti-" connotes the matter/anti-matter symmetry, the prefix "s" connotes supersymmetry. My two favorites: quarks have squarks, leptons have sleptons.

I'm also a fan of some of the quark names. In the standard model, quarks come in three families of two: up/down (the most common), strange/charm, and "t/b". Unfortunately, the majority usage is that "t" stands for top and "b" for bottom. But I'm a bigger fan of the minority usage: truth/beauty. (Of course, these really are different particles, thus violating the maxim "beauty is truth, and truth, beauty.")

The adjective "strange" is often used to describe matter having at least one strange quark. So you have strange stars, strange matter, etc. "Strangelets" also sometimes refer to bound states involving a strange quark.
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