2 – Too Little Friends

We started with the electron our Too Little Friends. Maybe that’s the beginning of particle physics. Is particle physics over now? Well, NO. There are a few things missing from this map.

Too Little Friends

The Standard Model of Too Little Friends



The standard model on the threshold of ruining the Large Hadron Collider. More conventional way of viewing the standard model. It tells us that we have the electron here, our old friend that we saw. It’s been around for a long time. It has a neutrino that comes with it, which is actually very hard to see. There are lots of them in this room our Too Little Friends, they don’t interact very much.

But they’re emitted, for instance, copiously from the sun. And then we have the quarks– the Up Quark and the Down Quark. And if one take an up and a down quark, you take two ups and a down, you can make a proton. If one take two downs and an up, you can make a neutron. If you take protons and neutrons Too Little Friends, you can make every atomic nucleus in the periodic table.

If you add the electrons, you can make every element in the periodic table. And every molecule, and then so on from there. So in principle, this is enough to build everything, so long as you include the forces like the photon and the Gluon, the strong nuclear force is what holds quarks together.

Z Particle has a mass about 90 times the mass of the proton. So scientist’s chain things up, and make the energies match. Then one can make total energy that’s 90 times the mass of the proton.

Forces of Our Too Little Friends

The photon, which is what’s coming out of laser, and this is the electromagnetic force carrier. And then the W and the Z, which carried a weak force; the forces of Too Little Friends. Which is always hard to say what the weak force does because it’s so short range, it doesn’t get outside the atomic nucleus. But it is, for instance, integral to the fusion reactions and the sun. So it’s kind of important.

The sun wouldn’t work without it. And it’s the only force the neutrinos actually experience. And so that looks like we got everything really. But then for the reasons that are not clear, these are copied again. So here we have the Charm Quark and the Strange Quark, which are like the up and the down only heavier. The muon, which is like the electron, only heavier and its neutrino.

And then the top and the bottom quarks are heavier again. And then it stops. There’s no more copies like that. There might be other particles that will come to the end, but there’s certainly nothing like this anymore. And that looks like everything in the universe is made of this. And this stuff is not made of anything else. This is fundamental. And that’s where we were when we turned on the last chapter on Collider to see our Too Little Friends, and you could express that. We know so much about this theory. You could actually express it mathematically and do very precise calculations with it and, actually, correlate the parameters in it.

So plot from March 2012, which is a significant date, showed the mass of the top quark. Than the mass of the W boson, which is one of the carriers of the weak force. Of all the parameters in the Standard Model, these are the kind of two least constrained.

physicists call them virtual particles. They say they’re not real. And virtual particles are allowed to have a mass that isn’t exactly what the mass of the real version would be.

Particle Physics and Quantum Physics

      So we’re looking at where– what all the calculations tell us, how they have to be correlated. They’re telling us where the missing element from the Standard Model is. We have a real problem in that we can’t actually accommodate the mass of these particles. So we know that the W and the Z boson, in particular, have a lot of mass.

As the model was written down, one can’t actually accommodate that. What was postulated to explain that mass is the Higgs boson. Colliding the two highest energy beams of particles that scientists ever managed to control, and steer, and accelerate our Too Little Friends. Scientists are bringing them into a head-on collision.  Physicists surrounding those points with detectors that will allow them to detect the debris when the particles collide, and making measurements.

And as physicists know now that because this is high energy, these measurements will be giving them clues about the very, very smallest detail that they can see inside of the proton, which we know, inside the proton, there are quarks and gluons. But maybe this could even show this stuff inside the quark. Maybe for the first time, we’ll get over the edge and see something there.

It was built in order to have enough energy to get over and see what’s going on and whether the Higgs is really there or not. So physicist did discover the Higgs boson. And physicists call them virtual particles. They say they’re not real. And virtual particles are allowed to have a mass that isn’t exactly what the mass of the real version would be. So their real focus on those types of zero mass– the virtual one doesn’t have to. The Z boson, which is was one of the force carriers of the weak force, along with the W. And the Z does have mass our Too Little Friends.

Photons Too Little Friends

The Z Particle has a mass about 90 times the mass of the proton. So scientist’s chain things up, and make the energies match. Then one can make total energy that’s 90 times the mass of the proton. And then the Z can have exactly the right energy in the middle of that diagram, and everything will work.

       The probability of the electron and the positron annihilating to a photon or a Z. And this is as a function of essentially mass energy, which is essentially just the energy, or the mass. As you push to higher and higher energies, the probability drops and drops.

Then as you get to the mass of the Z– when the Z cannot be a correct mass, you get a peak in the probability. And that’s because at that point, those three things line up. Energy conservation equals mc squared, and the Z has the right mass, till you get its peak. This is basically how physicist discover a new particle. When collide two particles together, they got a mass of stuff produced. But if there’s a new particle in there and you measure the products of that collision, then you’ll see a peak when the products of that collision lead to it can come from a particle of the right mass.

So if one make a Higgs boson, one of the things it can decay Too Little Friends to is a pair of photons. You’ve got the number of times, the number of pairs of photons up here. You’ve got the mass of the particle that might have produced photons, and physicist are looking for a bump. And then you see there’s a lot of statistics, a lot of fake bumps, which all kind of recede into the noise, but one bump, which grows and stays and that’s the evidence.

The Higgs Boson

           The first evidence for the fact that the Higgs boson exists. And at that point at 125, roughly times the mass of the proton, you have a coincidence, where now you have a diagram where two gluons, in fact, interlay. There’s a Higgs boson produced in the case of two photons. And at that point, energy conservation and the mass of the Higgs equals mc squared; all line up. And you get a peak in the probability. Physicist announced this on the 4th of July 2012, and then collected a bit more data afterwards. That was the discovery of the Higgs boson our Too Little Friends

There, in the extremities of our knowledge in the frontier of energy. But going back to the more conventional view, this is what we had, before the Large Hadron Collider, and then after the Large Hadron Collider. We had the Higgs boson kind of making the whole thing hang together and allowing the other particles to have mass. So that was 2012 what we’ve been doing since. It was the Higgs boson; the last fundamental particle.


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