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  • Define matter and antimatter.
  • Outline the differences between hadrons and leptons.
  • State the differences between mesons and baryons.

In the early 1930s only a small number of subatomic particles were known to exist—the proton, neutron, electron, photon and, indirectly, the neutrino. Nature seemed relatively simple in some ways, but mysterious in others. Why, for example, should the particle that carries positive charge be almost 2000 times as massive as the one carrying negative charge? Why does a neutral particle like the neutron have a magnetic moment? Does this imply an internal structure with a distribution of moving charges? Why is it that the electron seems to have no size other than its wavelength, while the proton and neutron are about 1 fermi in size? So, while the number of known particles was small and they explained a great deal of atomic and nuclear phenomena, there were many unexplained phenomena and hints of further substructures.

Things soon became more complicated, both in theory and in the prediction and discovery of new particles. In 1928, the British physicist P.A.M. Dirac (see [link] ) developed a highly successful relativistic quantum theory that laid the foundations of quantum electrodynamics (QED). His theory, for example, explained electron spin and magnetic moment in a natural way. But Dirac’s theory also predicted negative energy states for free electrons. By 1931, Dirac, along with Oppenheimer, realized this was a prediction of positively charged electrons (or positrons). In 1932, American physicist Carl Anderson discovered the positron in cosmic ray studies. The positron, or e + size 12{e rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} , is the same particle as emitted in β + size 12{e rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} decay and was the first antimatter that was discovered. In 1935, Yukawa predicted pions as the carriers of the strong nuclear force, and they were eventually discovered. Muons were discovered in cosmic ray experiments in 1937, and they seemed to be heavy, unstable versions of electrons and positrons. After World War II, accelerators energetic enough to create these particles were built. Not only were predicted and known particles created, but many unexpected particles were observed. Initially called elementary particles, their numbers proliferated to dozens and then hundreds, and the term “particle zoo” became the physicist’s lament at the lack of simplicity. But patterns were observed in the particle zoo that led to simplifying ideas such as quarks, as we shall soon see.

A photo of a young Paul Dirac.
P.A.M. Dirac’s theory of relativistic quantum mechanics not only explained a great deal of what was known, it also predicted antimatter. (credit: Cambridge University, Cavendish Laboratory)

Matter and antimatter

The positron was only the first example of antimatter. Every particle in nature has an antimatter counterpart, although some particles, like the photon, are their own antiparticles. Antimatter has charge opposite to that of matter (for example, the positron is positive while the electron is negative) but is nearly identical otherwise, having the same mass, intrinsic spin, half-life, and so on. When a particle and its antimatter counterpart interact, they annihilate one another, usually totally converting their masses to pure energy in the form of photons as seen in [link] . Neutral particles, such as neutrons, have neutral antimatter counterparts, which also annihilate when they interact. Certain neutral particles are their own antiparticle and live correspondingly short lives. For example, the neutral pion π 0 size 12{π rSup { size 8{0} } } {} is its own antiparticle and has a half-life about 10 8 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{ - 8} } } {} shorter than π + size 12{π rSup { size 8{+{}} } } {} and π size 12{π rSup { size 8{ - {}} } } {} , which are each other’s antiparticles. Without exception, nature is symmetric—all particles have antimatter counterparts. For example, antiprotons and antineutrons were first created in accelerator experiments in 1956 and the antiproton is negative. Antihydrogen atoms, consisting of an antiproton and antielectron, were observed in 1995 at CERN, too. It is possible to contain large-scale antimatter particles such as antiprotons by using electromagnetic traps that confine the particles within a magnetic field so that they don't annihilate with other particles. However, particles of the same charge repel each other, so the more particles that are contained in a trap, the more energy is needed to power the magnetic field that contains them. It is not currently possible to store a significant quantity of antiprotons. At any rate, we now see that negative charge is associated with both low-mass (electrons) and high-mass particles (antiprotons) and the apparent asymmetry is not there. But this knowledge does raise another question—why is there such a predominance of matter and so little antimatter? Possible explanations emerge later in this and the next chapter.

Questions & Answers

Water is flowing in a pipe with a varying cross-sectional area, and at all points the water completely fills the pipe. At point 1 the cross-sectional area of the pipe is 0.077 m2, and the magnitude of the fluid velocity is 3.50 m/s. (a) What is the fluid speed at points in the pipe where the cross
fagbeji Reply
what's the period of velocity 4cm/s at displacement 10cm
Andrew Reply
What is physics
LordRalph Reply
the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.
and the word of matter is anything that have mass and occupied space
what is phyices
Aurang Reply
Whats the formula
Okiri Reply
what aspect of black body spectrum forced plank to purpose quantization of energy level in its atoms and molicules
Shoaib Reply
a man has created by who?
Angel Reply
What type of experimental evidence indicates that light is a wave
Edeh Reply
double slit experiment
The S. L. Unit of sound energy is
Chukwuemeka Reply
what's the conversation like?
some sort of blatherring or mambo jambo you may say
I still don't understand what this group is all about oo
ufff....this associated with physics ..so u can ask questions related to all topics of physics..
what is sound?
what is upthrust
Mercy Reply
what is upthrust
Up thrust is a force
upthrust is a upward force that acts vertical in the ground surface.
yes rodney's answer z correct
what is centre of gravity?
you think the human body could produce such Force
what is wave
Bryan Reply
what is specific latent heat
Omosebi Reply
the total amount of heat energy required to change the physical state of a unit mass of matter without a corresponding change in temperature.
is there any difference between specific heat and heat capacity.....
what wave
why medical physics even.we have a specoal branch of science biology for this.
Sahrrr Reply
what is physics
AbleGod Reply

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