Posts Tagged ‘quarks’

Here’s what we know for sure: Electrons whiz around “orbitals” in an atom’s outer shell. Then there’s a whole lot of empty space. And then, right in the center of that space, there’s a tiny nucleus — a dense knot of protons and neutrons that give the atom most of its mass. Those protons and neutrons cluster together (nucleons), bound by what’s called the strong force. And the numbers of those protons and neutrons determine whether the atom is iron or oxygen or xenon, and whether it’s radioactive or stable.

How nucleons behave inside an atom, is not really understood. Outside an atom, protons and neutrons have definite sizes and shapes. Each of them is made up of three smaller particles called quarks, and the interactions between those quarks are so intense that no external force should be able to deform them, not even the powerful forces between particles in a nucleus.

But for decades, researchers have known that the theory is in some way wrong. Experiments have shown that, inside a nucleus, protons and neutrons appear much larger than they should be. Physicists have developed two competing theories that try to explain that weird mismatch, and the proponents of each are quite certain the other is incorrect. Both camps agree, however, that whatever the correct answer is, it must come from a field beyond their own.

The nucleons, confined in their movements, have very little energy. They don’t bounce around much, restrained by the strong force.

In 1983, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) noticed something strange: Beams of electrons bounced off iron in a way that was very different from how they bounced off free protons, if the protons inside hydrogen were the same size as the protons inside iron, the electrons should have bounced off in much the same way.

While quarks the subatomic particles that make up nucleons, strongly interact within a given proton or neutron, quarks in different protons and neutrons can’t interact much with each other. The strong force inside a nucleon is so strong it is like Antaeus, the son of the sea god, Poseidon. But when he was lifted of the ground he could be crushed as Hercules did. It is how strong force holding together nucleons inside an atom,

This inherent integrity of an atom depends on this quality and it is truth of nature. Matter is not merely material but inbuilt truth,-indicated by matter plus. Galilieo founded modern science purely within areas it may be put to test, quantified and repeated tests showed same results under given circumstance. By doing so he restricted matter to the knowable leaving out the plus. Ever since we are left with confusing results as in the case of Hubble constant covered earlier. (Life Science-There is a giant mystery…/Rafi Letzter/ 2-1-20)


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What are we? Science was young when the ancient Greeks put forward a set of classical elements: from water, air, fire and earth; the Chinese believed in water, fire, earth, metal and wood. Still it was young and naiive. In this age of Large Hadron Collider in Geneva the Physicists would put down matter as made of twelve fundamental particles – quarks and leptons. These have no substructure and cannot be broken down into smaller particles. Quarks and leptons interact via four forces to make the universe we know today.

How these particles work to make matter.

The nucleus and the electrons are attracted to each other, exchanging photons. The force between the nucleus and electrons is the electromagnetic force.

Many atoms constitute objects in our everyday life as well as much bigger components of the universe such as stars and galaxies. The force dominating this level of macroscopic phenomena is gravity.

In an atomic nucleus a proton is made up of two up quarks and one down quark, and a neutron is composed of one up quark and two down quarks. The force that binds three quarks in a proton or a neutron is called the strong force and this force is due to exchanges of gluons. Having said this let us examine force mediator that facilitates exchanges. There are four such mediators the “gluon”, “photon”, “graviton” and “weak bosons”.

An atomic nucleus constitutes an atom together with electrons orbiting around it. The relation between the nucleus and electrons resembles the one between the sun and planets in the solar system.

In the centre of stars, huge energy is generated by nuclear fusion being mediated by weak bosons. This energy makes the universe bright. In nuclear fusion, a down quark is changed to an up quark by the weak force. Stars are luminous because the fundamental building blocks are changing their types and providing energy.

Quarks like to hang in groups

Although most physicists believe that quarks are the fundamental building blocks which make up the universe, no one has observed an isolated quark on its own. This is due to the nature of the strong force.

Like a nucleus and an electron that attract each other due to their electrical charges, quarks are combined together by their color charges.

Many atoms constitute objects in our everyday life as well as much bigger components of the universe such as stars and galaxies. The force dominating this level of macroscopic phenomena is gravity, intermediated by gravitons.

Experiments in 1968 provided the evidence for the quark model. The quark model actually explains the existence of more than 100 particles, all known as “hadrons” (as in Large Hadron Collider) and made up of different combinations of quarks. For example the proton is made of three quarks. If protons are hit hard enough, the strong force can be overcome and the proton smashed apart. With the LHC recently updated is powerful and the scientists are ready to look deeper into the world of quarks.

The Large Hadron Collider, famous for finding the Higgs boson, has now revealed another new and rather unusual particle. Pentaquarks are incredibly difficult to see; they are very rare and very unstable. This means that if it is possible to stick five quarks together, they won’t stay together for very long. The team on the LHCb experiment made their discovery by looking in detail at other exotic hadrons produced in the collisions and they way these break apart. All hadrons seem to be made up of combinations of either two or three quarks, whereas pentaquarks as the name suggests are made up of five quarks.

Why is this important?

The discovery answers a decades-old question in particle physics and highlights another part of the mission of the LHC. Discoveries of new fundamental particles such as the Higgs boson tell us something completely new about the universe. But discoveries like pentaquarks give us a more complete understanding of the rich possibilities that lie in the universe we already know.

By developing this understanding, we may get some hints about how the universe developed after the Big Bang and how we’ve ended up with protons and neutrons instead of pentaquarks making up everyday matter.(Ack: the Conversation,Feb15 of 2013,2015- Takashi Kobota/Gavin Hesketh)

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All stable matter in the universe is made from lightest particles that signify these belong to the first generation; any heavier particles quickly decay to the next most stable level. When matter is made up to delineate forms that we can name and cherish say, a baby, remember it is made up at its fundamental level by particles and these are ‘condemned’ to decay. Growing from cradle to grave is not a curse but nature’s decree of changes.

Consider energy is neither created nor destroyed. So energy is passed around recycling which in human terms we may say we age and move from infancy to maturity leaving room for another generation of babies to take our place. There is a great democracy in this change: baby born with a silver spoon must make for a baby with a wooden spoon stuck into its mouth.

When we see the nature in its myriad colours we may understand that there are also quarks and leptons involved. Quarks come in three different colors which however when mixed create only colourless objects. For those who rely on their senses to make sense of the world, another world which has no colour, form or shape but equally admissible also exists. You may use your reason if you will or deny its existence. It matters little. Faith rules this realm given the hint that we can empirically know as existent at fundamental level.


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The Standard Model

Everything in the universe is found to be made from a few basic building blocks called fundamental particles, governed by four fundamental forces. Our best understanding of how these particles and three of the forces are related to each other is encapsulated in the Standard Model of particle physics.

These particles occur in two basic types called quarks and leptons. Each group consists of six particles, which are related in pairs, or “generations”. The lightest and most stable particles make up the first generation, whereas the heavier and less stable particles belong to the second and third generations. All stable matter in the universe is made from particles that belong to the first generation; any heavier particles quickly decay to the next most stable level.

There are four fundamental forces at work in the universe: the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force. They work over different ranges and have different strengths. Gravity is the weakest but it has an infinite range. The electromagnetic force also has infinite range but it is many times stronger than gravity. The weak and strong forces are effective only over a very short range and dominate only at the level of subatomic particles. Despite its name, the weak force is much stronger than gravity but it is indeed the weakest of the other three.

The words of Jesus comes to mind, ‘The last shall be first. (Mt.19:30,Isa 33:23.) The lame shall take the prey. Weakness on a moral plane is humility. Principles of the Sermon on the Mount can be explained in its material make-up of matter.

(ack: home.web.cern.ch)


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If you were to use the physical distance in terms of size as a model, the height a fly can in one jump will for man work out as high as the Empire State building. This is only a hypothetical model. The different flavors quarks come up with, do indicate space in such infinitesimal confines: correspondence principle gives space a yardstick on which infinite or the least can be held up.

At the level of quarks is there time or space? We might tag so many flavors make up proton or neutron just as we would lay a sheet in vast expanse of grass to have a picnic and call it as our space. Once picnic is over and sheet is taken out, folded and we drive away the so called space is dissolved. So is time. These are only related to us. Yet its reality as a memory(of a picnic on Sunday for example) is swallowed up in space where in we create our realities of everyday life in space. It is only relevant to the observer like finding parking space for your car.

Time is similarly related to the observer.

If God is to conceived as eternal, infinite and omnipresent He must hold as real to me as in the cosmos. As a Christian I believe essence of God is achieved in space regardless of such an infinitesimal space. ‘The kingdom of God is within you.’ Gluons are stronger nuclear force binding realities of sub-atomic particles ie quarks. What makes us believe in physical reality of our bodies and ideas? Do we not believe in our world or in our bodies? Just the same these come up as ever with otherworldly tags.

Our faith though as small as mustard seed can grow as large as to cover as the will of God covers the entire cosmos. God has inscribed truth in our inward parts.




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Atoms are made of protons and neutrons, which in turn are made of even smaller pieces called quarks. There are six flavors of quarks: up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm. They’re held together by gluons to make protons and neutrons and by extension, everything else.. A proton, for instance, is made of three quarks, two up and one down. Gluons, which carry the strong nuclear force, are also made of quarks.

In such infinitesimal space can any instrument tinker with flavor of quark? In a collision between protons, the energies are high enough that the quarks can be recombined into other particles called mesons which do not last long. These decay into other kinds of particles in just trillionths of a second. With such random nature of quarks it is far fetched to imagine a flavor to fit our predetermined design.

Does this hold any relevance to us? Flavor of quarks may when translated into human terms it may be ambition, aggression, preeminence or glory. Whoever pursues these shall learn randomness is part of the deal and glory shall last for a short duration indeed.

War might serve as Nature’s strategy to get rid of the weak, old and useless but anyone who sets out to write his name on the annals of history taking that route may take lesson from Napoleon or Hitler who barely managed 13 years instead of a 1000 year Reich.

In the micro world of atoms, such an array of flavors and electron that do not decay in manner of quarks, are a law unto themselves. I hazard to think this state underpins the cluster principle of our visible universe.


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