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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the four fundamental forces and what particles participate in them
  • Identify and describe fermions and bosons
  • Identify and describe the quark and lepton families
  • Distinguish between particles and antiparticles, and describe their interactions

Elementary particle physics is the study of fundamental particles and their interactions in nature. Those who study elementary particle physics—the particle physicists—differ from other physicists in the scale of the systems that they study. A particle physicist is not content to study the microscopic world of cells, molecules, atoms, or even atomic nuclei. They are interested in physical processes that occur at scales even smaller than atomic nuclei. At the same time, they engage the most profound mysteries in nature: How did the universe begin? What explains the pattern of masses in the universe? Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe? Why are energy and momentum conserved? How will the universe evolve?

Four fundamental forces

An important step to answering these questions is to understand particles and their interactions. Particle interactions are expressed in terms of four fundamental force     s . In order of decreasing strength, these forces are the strong nuclear force    , the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force    , and the gravitational force.

  1. Strong nuclear force. The strong nuclear force is a very strong attractive force that acts only over very short distances (about 10 −15 m ). The strong nuclear force is responsible for binding protons and neutrons together in atomic nuclei. Not all particles participate in the strong nuclear force; for instance, electrons and neutrinos are not affected by it. As the name suggests, this force is much stronger than the other forces.
  2. Electromagnetic force. The electromagnetic force can act over very large distances (it has an infinite range) but is only 1/100 the strength of the strong nuclear force. Particles that interact through this force are said to have “charge.” In the classical theory of static electricity (Coulomb’s law), the electric force varies as the product of the charges of the interacting particles, and as the inverse square of the distances between them. In contrast to the strong force, the electromagnetic force can be attractive or repulsive (opposite charges attract and like charges repel). The magnetic force depends in a more complicated way on the charges and their motions. The unification of the electric and magnetic force into a single electromagnetic force (an achievement of James Clerk Maxwell) stands as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the nineteenth century. This force is central to scientific models of atomic structure and molecular bonding.
  3. Weak nuclear force. The weak nuclear force acts over very short distances ( 10 −15 m ) and, as its name suggest, is very weak. It is roughly 10 −6 the strength of the strong nuclear force. This force is manifested most notably in decays of elementary particles and neutrino interactions. For example, the neutron can decay to a proton, electron, and electron neutrino through the weak force. The weak force is vitally important because it is essential for understanding stellar nucleosynthesis—the process that creates new atomic nuclei in the cores of stars.
  4. Gravitational force. Like the electromagnetic force, the gravitational force can act over infinitely large distances; however, it is only 10 −38 as strong as the strong nuclear force. In Newton’s classical theory of gravity, the force of gravity varies as the product of the masses of the interacting particles and as the inverse square of the distance between them. This force is an attractive force that acts between all particles with mass. In modern theories of gravity, this force behavior is considered a special case for low-energy macroscopic interactions. Compared with the other forces of nature, gravity is by far the weakest.

Questions & Answers

what is bohrs model for hydrogen atom
Swagatika Reply
hi
Tr
Hello
Youte
Hi
Nwangwu-ike
hi
Siddiquee
what is the value of speed of light
Propessor Reply
1.79×10_¹⁹ km per hour
Swagatika
what r dwarf planet
Sivalakshmi Reply
what is energy
Isiguzo Reply
কাজের একক কী
Jasim
কাজের একক কী
Jasim
friction ka direction Kaise pata karte hai
Rahul Reply
friction is always in the opposite of the direction of moving object
Punia
A twin paradox in the special theory of relativity arises due to.....? a) asymmetric of time only b) symmetric of time only c) only time
Varia Reply
b) symmetric of time only
Swagatika
fundamental note of a vibrating string
fasoyin Reply
every matter made up of particles and particles are also subdivided which are themselves subdivided and so on ,and the basic and smallest smallest smallest division is energy which vibrates to become particles and thats why particles have wave nature
Alvin
what are matter waves? Give some examples
mallam Reply
according to de Broglie any matter particles by attaining the higher velocity as compared to light'ill show the wave nature and equation of wave will applicable on it but in practical life people see it is impossible however it is practicaly true and possible while looking at the earth matter at far
Manikant
a centeral part of theory of quantum mechanics example:just like a beam of light or a water wave
Swagatika
Mathematical expression of principle of relativity
Nasir Reply
given that the velocity v of wave depends on the tension f in the spring, it's length 'I' and it's mass 'm'. derive using dimension the equation of the wave
obia Reply
What is the importance of de-broglie's wavelength?
Mukulika Reply
he related wave to matter
Zahid
at subatomic level wave and matter are associated. this refering to mass energy equivalence
Zahid
it is key of quantum
Manikant
how those weight effect a stable motion at equilibrium
Nonso Reply
how do I differentiate this equation- A sinwt with respect to t
Evans Reply
just use the chain rule : let u =wt , the dy/dt = dy/du × du/dt : wA × cos(wt)
Jerry
I see my message got garbled , anyway use the chain rule with u= wt , etc...
Jerry
de broglie wave equation
LoNE Reply
vy beautiful equation
chandrasekhar
what is electro statics
fitsum Reply
when you consider systems consisting of fixed charges
Sherly

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Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 3. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12067/1.4
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