Josh-D. S. Davis

Xaminmo / Omnimax / Max Omni / Mad Scientist / Midnight Shadow / Radiation Master

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Higgs Boson - Particle Physics primer
Josh 201604 KWP
A friend asked "How is the Higgs Boson related to a Quark?"
I found a lot of good secondary research online, but the organization was poor for those of us who aren't already particle physicists. After a few hours of study, here's what I came up with as a reply, with a post-edit for readability:

Quarks are fermions, meaning they have 1/2 integer spin. They have both strong and weak interaction. Quarks are the constituent particles of hadrons, such as the Baryons, with 3 Quarks (proton, neutron, antiproton), or the Mesons, with 2 quarks, one of which is an antiquark.

This differs from leptons, which are also fermions, but which do not exhibit strong interaction. Leptons include the electron, muon, tauon, and neutrino particles. Leptons do not have a spatial extent. In other words, they have a small mass, but no size - they are "point particles").

Opposed to Fermions are Bosons. Bosons have a whole integer spin. Gauge bosons are single particle bosons which carry forces between other particles. Technically, a composite particle containing an even number of fermions would also be a Boson, though would still be limited by fermionic rules, such as the Pauli-Exclusion principle, wherein 2 particles of the same type and charge cannot occupy the same space. Composite particle bosons include Mesons (2 quarks), and even-numbered nuclei (Helium).

Gauge Bosons include photons, which carry the ElectroMagnetic force, which affects the quantum state of a particle (spin direction, angular momentum, etc.) W+, W-, and Z bosons carry the Weak force, related to Quark "Flavor", and therefore radioactive decay. Gluons carry the Strong Force, aka the color charge (RGB normal, and CMY anti), which holds quarks together inside Hadrons, and its residual holds Hadrons together inside nuclei.

Other singlet bosons, include the graviton, with spin of 2, which carries gravity, but which hasn't been "found" yet, so may not actually exist except as a mathematical remainder. Also, the Higgs Boson, which was recently found, carries mass. It has a spin of zero, electric charge of zero, and no color. It is its own antiparticle.

Quarks change flavor by emitting or absorbing a W boson. They absorb or release energy (heat, light, etc) through photon exchanges. They change color though gluon exchange. Exchanging of Higgs Bosons causes a conversion between mass and energy. Effectively, the particle slows down, but the energy is not given away, rather, it converts to mass (E=MC^2).


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