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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the Standard Model in terms of the four fundamental forces and exchange particles
  • Draw a Feynman diagram for a simple particle interaction
  • Use Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to determine the range of forces described by the Standard Model
  • Explain the rationale behind grand unification theories

The chief intellectual activity of any scientist is the development and revision of scientific models. A particle physicist seeks to develop models of particle interactions. This work builds directly on work done on gravity and electromagnetism in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The ultimate goal of physics is a unified “theory of everything” that describes all particle interactions in terms of a single elegant equation and a picture. The equation itself might be complex, but many scientists suspect the idea behind the equation will make us exclaim: “How could we have missed it? It was so obvious!”

In this section, we introduce the Standard Model, which is the best current model of particle interactions. We describe the Standard Model in detail in terms of electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and strong forces. At the end of this section, we review unification theories in particle physics.

Introduction to the standard model

The Standard Model    of particle interactions contains two ideas: electroweak theory and quantum chromodynamics (QCD)    (the force acting between color charges). Electroweak theory unifies the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED)    , the modern equivalent of classical electromagnetism, and the theory of weak nuclear interactions. The Standard Model combines the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

In the Standard Model, particle interactions occur through the exchange of bosons, the “force carriers.” For example, the electrostatic force is communicated between two positively charged particles by sending and receiving massless photons. This can occur at a theoretical infinite range. The result of these interactions is Coulomb repulsion (or attraction). Similarly, quarks bind together through the exchange of massless gluons. Leptons scatter off other leptons (or decay into lighter particles) through the exchange of massive W and Z bosons. A summary of forces as described by the Standard Model is given in [link] . The gravitational force, mediated by the exchange of massless gravitations, is added in this table for completeness but is not part of the Standard Model.

Four forces and the standard model
Force Relative strength Exchange particle (bosons) Particles acted upon Range
Strong 1 Gluon Quarks 10 −15 m
Electromagnetic 1/137 photon Charged particles
Weak 10 −10 W + , W , Z bosons Quarks, leptons, neutrinos 10 −18 m
Gravitational 10 −38 graviton All particles

The Standard Model can be expressed in terms of equations and diagrams. The equations are complex and are usually covered in a more advanced course in modern physics. However, the essence of the Standard Model can be captured using Feynman diagram     s . A Feynman diagram, invented by American physicist Richard Feynman (1918–1988), is a space-time diagram that describes how particles move and interact. Different symbols are used for different particles. Particle interactions in one dimension are shown as a time-position graph (not a position-time graph). As an example, consider the scattering of an electron and electron-neutrino ( [link] ). The electron moves toward positive values of x (to the right) and collides with an electron neutrino moving to the left. The electron exchanges a Z boson (charge zero). The electron scatters to the left and the neutrino scatters to the right. This exchange is not instantaneous. The Z boson travels from one particle to the other over a short period of time. The interaction of the electron and neutrino is said to occur via the weak nuclear force. This force cannot be explained by classical electromagnetism because the charge of the neutrino is zero. The weak nuclear force is discussed again later in this section.

Questions & Answers

how does colour appear in thin films
Nwjwr Reply
in the wave equation y=Asin(kx-wt+¢) what does k and w stand for.
Kimani Reply
derivation of lateral shieft
James Reply
how are you?
I'm fine
total binding energy of ionic crystal at equilibrium is
All Reply
How does, ray of light coming form focus, behaves in concave mirror after refraction?
Bishesh Reply
Refraction does not occur in concave mirror. If refraction occurs then I don't know about this.
What is motion
Izevbogie Reply
Anything which changes itself with respect to time or surrounding
and what's time? is time everywhere same
how can u say that
do u know about black hole
Not so more
Radioactive substance
These substance create harmful radiation like alpha particle radiation, beta particle radiation, gamma particle radiation
But ask anything changes itself with respect to time or surrounding A Not any harmful radiation
explain cavendish experiment to determine the value of gravitational concept.
Celine Reply
 Cavendish Experiment to Measure Gravitational Constant. ... This experiment used a torsion balance device to attract lead balls together, measuring the torque on a wire and equating it to the gravitational force between the balls. Then by a complex derivation, the value of G was determined.
For the question about the scuba instructor's head above the pool, how did you arrive at this answer? What is the process?
Evan Reply
as a free falling object increases speed what is happening to the acceleration
Success Reply
of course g is constant
acceleration also inc
which paper will be subjective and which one objective
normal distributiin of errors report
normal distribution of errors
acceleration also increases
there are two correct answers depending on whether air resistance is considered. none of those answers have acceleration increasing.
Acceleration is the change in velocity over time, hence it's the derivative of the velocity with respect to time. So this case would depend on the velocity. More specifically the change in velocity in the system.
photo electrons doesn't emmit when electrons are free to move on surface of metal why?
Rafi Reply
What would be the minimum work function of a metal have to be for visible light(400-700)nm to ejected photoelectrons?
Mohammed Reply
give any fix value to wave length
40 cm into change mm
Arhaan Reply
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. that cap(^) I have used above is to the power.
i.e. 10to the power -2 in the first line and 10 to the power -3 in the the second line.
there is mistake in my first msg correction is 40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm. sorry for the mistake friends.
40cm=40.0×10^-2m =400.0×10^-3m =400mm.
this msg is out of mistake. sorry friends​.
what is physics?
sisay Reply
why we have physics
Anil Reply
because is the study of mater and natural world
because physics is nature. it explains the laws of nature. some laws already discovered. some laws yet to be discovered.
physics is the study of non living things if we added it with biology it becomes biophysics and bio is the study of living things tell me please what is this?
physics is the study of matter,energy and their interactions
all living things are matter
why rolling friction is less than sliding friction
thanks buvanas
is this a physics forum
Physics Reply
Practice Key Terms 5

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