This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
1895 1896 1899 1911 1911 1932 1932 1934 1937 1947 1950 1953 1956 The electron is discovered, except electrons are called cathode rays by their discoverer. X rays and other forms of radioactivity are observed Alpha particles are discovered, and later shown to be helium nuclei consisting of two neutrons and two protons. Nuclear model of atom with heavy nucleus in the middle and light electrons orbiting around it, is proposed, and becomes accepted. Electron charge measured in an oil drop experiment indicates that all electrons carry the same electric charge. The neutron directly observed in an experiment for first time. The positron, predicted by a theorist in 1928, is discovered. Radioactive nuclei produced in the laboratory. The muon, a charged lepton like the electron only heavier and hence unstable, is discovered. Two charged pi mesons, with positive and negative charge, are discovered. The neutral pi meson is discovered. The lambda baryon and K meson are discovered. The electron neutrino, predicted by theory in 1930, is confirmed to exist.
1950s- Lots of baryons and mesons being discovered, and their properties 1960s occur in regular patterns that look as if baryons and mesons are made of smaller building blocks. Physicists exhibit a tendency to name new particles after letters in the Greek alphabet. 1961 1963 The muon neutrino is discovered and shown to be a different particle from the electron neutrino.. Quark theory postulates that protons are made of smaller particles that carry charges that come in thirds of the electron charge. The three flavors of quarks are given names: up, down and strange.
1970s Deep inelastic scattering and other experiments reveal more of the quark structure inside protons and other hadrons. 1974 1975 A fourth flavor of quark, named charm, is detected in a newly discovered meson called the J (aka the ψ or Psi). The tau lepton is discovered, making a triplet of charged leptons with the electron and muon, leading to predictions of a tau neutrino to accompany the electron neutrino and the muon neutrino. A fifth flavor of quark, named bottom, is detected in the newly discovered Upsilon meson. This pattern leads particle physicists to believe they will find a sixth and final flavor of quark some day. This predicted last flavor of quark is called top. The massive gauge bosons that carry the weak nuclear force, called the W+,W- and Z0, are discovered and the Standard Model of Particle Physics is confirmed. The lifetime of the Z0 weak nuclear gauge boson is measured, and agrees precisely with there being exactly three kinds of neutrinos, and no more. The top quark is finally directly observed and measured, confirming the predictions of theorists that there are six flavors of quarks, as described in the Standard Model.
as do the electron.Future The search goes on for the Higgs boson (the only particle predicted by the Standard Model that hasn't been seen yet). 1 or 2. muon and tau. Note that the graviton isn't technically part of the Standard Model but we'll include it anyway. Particles that transmit forces Name Graviton Photon Gluon W+ WZ0 Higgs Spin 2 1 1 1 1 1 0 Electric charge 0 0 0 +1 -1 0 0 Mass 0 0 0 80 GeV 80 GeV 91 GeV > 78 GeV Observed? Not yet Yes Indirectly Yes Yes Yes Not yet The table above lists the elementary particles in the Standard Model that transmit the four forces observed in Nature. From the experimental point of view. for supersymmetric particles predicted by string theory. seem to be grouped into three generations. a mathematical model that describes or explains all particle physics observed so far by physicists has been worked out. Come back later and see. This model is called the Standard Model. Notice that the quarks with charge 2/3 come in a group of three. they are believed to be confined inside hadrons and unobservable as single particles. The Standard Model is from a technical standpoint incompatible with gravity. well. the heavier particles are shown in the larger type. muon and tau neutrinos. Perhaps in a few years there will be some more interesting entries for this page. The Standard Model consists of elementary particles grouped into two classes: bosons (particles that transmit forces) and fermions (particles that make up matter). The bosons have particle spin that is either 0. as do the quarks with charge -1/3. When we say that quarks and gluons are observed "indirectly". In the theory of quarks and gluons. we mean that evidence of their existence inside hadrons exists but these particles have not been observed singly. and that's why string theory became an active field of theoretical physics. the Standard Model is studied and confirmed so well that things are. and new kinds of exotic unpredicted particles is ongoing. particles that make up matter. Particles that make up matter The fermions in the Standard Model. for proton decay and for magnetic monopoles predicted by Grand Unified Theories. Through a combination of theory and experiment. except possibly at extremely high temperatures such as could be found very early in the Big Bang. The fermions have spin 1/2. In each group. almost boring. and the electron. Theoretical physics has not explained why there are three generations of particles .
0005 GeV .that make up matter.017 GeV Observed? Yes Yes Yes Name Up quark Charm quark Top quark Spin 1/2 1/2 1/2 Electric charge 2/3 2/3 2/3 Mass . Maybe string theory will come up with an answer for this.009 GeV .17 GeV 4.8 Gev Observed? Yes Yes Yes Name Electron neutrino Muon neutrino Tau neutrino Spin 1/2 1/2 1/2 Electric charge 0 0 0 Mass 0? <. Name Electron Muon Tau Spin 1/2 1/2 1/2 Electric charge -1 -1 -1 Mass .10 Gev 1.00017 GeV <.4 GeV Observed? Indirectly Indirectly Indirectly .4 GeV 174 GeV Observed? Indirectly Indirectly Indirectly Name Down quark Strange quark Bottom quark Spin 1/2 1/2 1/2 Electric charge -1/3 -1/3 -1/3 Mass .005 GeV 1.
and the system has to be described in fully relativistic terms using the mathematics of Einstein's theory of special relativity. Physical constants like the speed of light and Planck's constant have values that tell us the size or energy where the the observable physics begins to change substantially. When some important velocity in the system begins to approach the speed of light. then quantum wave interference will be . This is a standard unit for measuring particle physics energy scales. The de Broglie wavelength of a particle of momentum p is In quantum particle-wave duality.) Planck's constant. tells us when the wave/particle duality of quantum physics becomes measurable in a physical object. it is the amount of work one needs to do to move one electron across one volt of electric potential. Relativity The first example is the speed of light In a physical system where all the velocities that matter are much much less than the speed of light.An experiment creates a new universe One of the most important things to remember about physics is that Nature looks different depending on the distance or energy scale being looked at. in the form of the de Broglie wavelength. (The unit labeled eV is called an electron-volt. You'll see more of it on this web site. the Newtonian description doesn't fit so well any more. Quantum physics The most important physical constant uncovered in the 20th century is Planck's constant which tells us about the distance or momentum scale where classical physics stops making sense and a quantum description becomes necessary. the system can usually be described very well by ordinary Newtonian physics. and a different way of describing the physics mathematically is called for. if the size of an object of momentum p is smaller than its de Broglie wavelength.
The table below compares their relative strengths and ranges. with no units associated with it. . The Bohr radius describes the distance scale where atomic physics.and then it wouldn't be identifiable as cheese any longer. electromagnetism. For electromagnetism. is the best way to describe the physics. Elementary particle physics In elementary particle physics. protons and other hadrons. so they can't travel very far without decaying into lighter particles. the strong and weak nuclear forces are described by a combination of relativity and quantum mechanics. The important numbers for comparing these three forces are called coupling constants. because the gauge bosons are very heavy and have short lifetimes. the strong force has a very small range as well. whose size measures the strength of the respective force. using nonrelativistic quantum mechanics in a classical electromagnetic field. Planck's constant and the speed of light. Planck's constant is a very very small number. The combination of Planck's constant with the speed of light and the electron charge means this coupling constant is telling us about the quantum relativistic physics of electromagnetism. There are also dimensionless coupling constants for the strong and weak nuclear interactions. Notice this constant ends up being just a plain number. called relativistic quantum field theory. and binds protons and neutrons into the nuclei of atoms. the coupling constant is called the fine structure constant α and is formed by the electron charge. Force Strong nuclear force Weak nuclear force Electromagnetic force Symbol α α α s Strength 1/3 1/30 7x10-3 Range 10-15 m 10-16 m Infinity W EM The weak nuclear force isn't actually that weak when measured by α W. that is. The de Broglie wavelength of something like a piece of cheese in the fridge would very very tiny. The strong nuclear force binds quarks into neutrons.measurable enough so that classical physics will fail to be a good description of the object's behavior. Atomic physics Planck's constant combined with the mass and electric charge of an electron gives us another important number in physics called the Bohr radius which tells us the average size of a hydrogen atom. That is what is meant by a dimensionless coupling constant. but because of quark confinement. but it has the shortest range. it tells us something about electromagnetism at distance scales where quantum mechanics and special relativity are both important to the physics at the same time. The cheese would have to be subatomic size before quantum cheese effects would take over -.
In quantum relativistic field theory. it's just hidden in the interactions of the theory. The strong and weak nuclear coupling constants decrease with energy. The very short range of weak interaction suggested that the gauge boson the mediated the force must be very heavy. The strong force in particular exhibits a property called asymptotic freedom. much higher than the weak interaction scale of about 80 GeV. is complicated by an infinite series of possible virtual particle interactions in a cloud of quantum relativistic fluctuations. an electron interacting with another electron by exchanging a photon. That's why. If the scale of symmetry breaking is very large. Spontaneous symmetry occurs at some energy scale determined by the quantum interactions of the Higgs particle with itself. this theory was confirmed by the direct observation of the heavy gauge bosons in the powerful particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva. then it takes a very large particle accelerator to find evidence of the effect. and some nifty mathematics concerning particle multiplets in group theory convinced physicists that there should be some energy scale where . This interaction between the gauge bosons and Higgs particles is called spontaneous symmetry breaking. for what is called beta decay of neutron into proton. and this scale in turn determines the mass of the gauge boson. however. which is a misnomer because the symmetry of the theory is still there. That fact. But quantum relativistic gauge field theories only seemed to make sense if the gauge boson had zero mass. That cloud of quantum relativistic fluctuations changes the measured value of the coupling constant and makes it depend on the energy scale at which one is trying to measure it. the calculation of a simple particle interaction.Spontaneous symmetry breaking Physicists originally had a lot of trouble reconciling relativistic quantum field theory with the weak interaction that is responsible. the quarks inside a proton scatter almost like free particles. The paradox was resolved by the discovery that a special type of coupling to a particle called the Higgs could make the weak interaction gauge bosons able to become very heavy without destroying the symmetries that make the quantum theory mathematically consistent. The force that binds quarks together into a proton gets stronger at lower energy but becomes negligible at very high energies. say. In 1983. in very high energy scattering experiments. electron and neutrino. A unified theory The three running coupling constants wind up having the same strength at some very high energy scale. The masses of the three weak interaction gauge bosons are now known to be Gauge boson W+ WZ0 Mass 80 GeV 80 GeV 91 GeV Running coupling constants Assigning a coupling strength to each force is tricky. because of the quantum relativistic effect known as the running coupling constant. The electromagnetic coupling constant increases with energy. for example.
these three groups all fit into a single unified group with a unified set of gauge bosons whose number is determined by the properties of the unified group. The same process of spontaneous symmetry breaking that makes the weak bosons massive at a scale of 80 GeV is invoked by physicists to make most of the unified gauge bosons massive at a much higher scale. This type of elementary particle theory is called a Grand Unified Theory or GUT for short. the object can . For example. no evidence of proton decay has been observed in experiments set up to detect it. Even a small rate of proton decay would be disastrous and very noticeable. something like beta decay can happen to a proton. and electron and a neutrino. This is the constant that appears in Newton's law for the gravitation force between two objects (written here in its generalization to higher dimensions. The three gauge groups of the Standard Model of known elementary particle physics are SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1). they find a very high mass scale of This mass scale is far too high to be reached by particle accelerators in the near or distant future. where d is the dimension of spacetime) Newton's constant is very different from the speed of light and Planck's constant. because the stability of the proton is the basis for the stability of all known matter in the Universe. because the units depend on the number of spacetime dimensions Gravity feels like a strong force at the macroscopic distance scales where humans experience it.these three forces all have the same strength and where all the different types of particles fit into the same mathematical theory in one unified group. The most studied theories have been SU(5) and SO(10). where a neutron decays into a proton. but gravity is a very very weak force from a microscopic point of view. the equivalent of the fine structure constant for an electron and a proton interacting according to Newton's law is The gravitational radius of an object of mass M is a distance scale made from Newton's constant and the speed of light When the size of an object approaches its gravitational radius. What about gravity? The natural constant that describes the measured strength of the gravitational force is called Newton's constant. In a Grand Unified Theory. When physicists look for a mass scale where the three known running coupling constants run into a single value necessary for a Grand Unified Theory. So far. The weak interaction was discovered because of beta decay. But there is a way to test Grand Unified Theories without probing that mass scale directly. In a Grand Unified Theory.
This gives a natural length scale where we expect the system to be described by the Einstein equations rather than by Newtonian physics.Zino Higgsino Spin 3/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 Known particles that make up matter. and their possible superpartners Name Graviton Photon Gluon W+. One of the predictions of string theory is that at higher energy scales we should start to see evidence of a symmetry that gives every particle that transmits a force (a boson) a partner particle that makes up matter ( a fermion). the set of physical quantum states usually contains a graviton that gives rise to gravitational interactions.Z0 Higgs Spin Superpartner 2 1 1 1 1 0 Gravitino Photino Gluino Wino+. there are aspects of string theory that might be measurable with today's technology or with technology of the near future. made from Newton's constant (in four dimensions). it has been widely assumed that the natural distance scale of string theory should be the Planck scale. Known particles that transmit forces. This symmetry between forces and matter is called supersymmetry. This implies a very subtle and rich structure where the idea of distance itself is shifting and obscure. the speed of light and Planck's constant. In string theory. and their possible superpartners Name Electron Spin Superpartner 1/2 Selectron Spin 0 . The natural length scale at which quantum gravity should become important is called the Planck length. Even though the natural length scale of string theory is much much much much too small to be measured directly in particle experiments. So the idea of a distance scale itself is not as firm and reliable in string theory as it it normally is in quantum field theory.collapse into a black hole. and vice versa. Therefore. The partner particles are called superpartners. However string theories contain many duality symmetries that connect a string theory at one distance scale to a different string theory at a different scale. String theory is supposed to contain the physics of the quantum behavior of gravity.
the force will only be one fourth as strong. So if r is your distance from the center of a planet. What is a dimension? When we say that the space we live in has three dimensions. so come back to this web site for further news. we use three numbers: the height.Muon Tau Neutrino Quark 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 Smuon Stau Sneutrino Squark 0 0 0 0 In current particle experiments we can't yet see any direct evidence for the existence of superpartners for known elementary particles (there is some indirect evidence. then why look more closely at the force law? Because there are ways that extra dimensions of space can become undetectable or at least very difficult to detect by our world. so to speak.z). what does that mean? When we describe the size of an object. then the force varies with distance like r1-D. with z usually denoting the up direction or the direction of height. however). There is a good chance we could start to see superpartners in future particle experiments. The tradition is to label these three coordinates (x. or of a space like a room. That's what we see. When mathematicians or physicists talk about dimensions.) This gives physicists an interesting way to do fine measurements of the numbers of dimensions of space. Another way is that we need three numbers to exactly locate ourselves on the Earth: longitude. If you go twice as far away. then the gravitational force of that planet on you will vary like r-2. That's another argument for space being threedimensional. so we can eat our cake and hide it. That's one way to see that space is three dimensional. they mean the number of independent coordinates needed to specify any point in a given space. The gravitational force between two planets and the electrostatic force between two electric charges were both observed to vary as the inverse square of the distance between the two objects. If three space dimensions is consistent with current gravitational physics and interior decorating. latitude and elevation above sea level. The height. This could take place in the next five or ten years. too. it could turn out to be evidence for string theory. . When the gravitational and electrostatic equations are solved in a space with D dimensions. the width and the depth. (Notice this gives the right answer when D=3. But the number of coordinates in a mathematical equation is easy to increase on paper. They can look at the gravitational force and put quantitative limits on any funny behavior that would come from possible extra dimensions. If that happened. One of the big discoveries of early classical physics was the similarity between the forces of gravity and electrostatics.y. width and depth of a room are numbers that can vary independently from one another.
The equations of motion can be solved and classified in d dimensions just like in four spacetime dimensions. If we have D dimensions of space and one time. we have four coordinates to describe an event in spacetime.) These types of theories are called braneworlds. Now this creates a problem in d=10 string theory: how to get the d=4 world as we know it out of the theory. Usually we label them (t. Einstein's full theory of spacetime. And it turns out that having extra dimensions of space makes it possible to build candidates for such a theory. So that's what is meant by saying that our spacetime has four dimensions. then instead of three coordinates to describe a point in space. where time and space make one united fabric that is curved and stretched and twisted by the distribution of matter and energy in the fabric. or else bad quantum states called ghosts with unphysical negative probabilities become part of the spectrum. But the question is then: WHY BOTHER? It's because physicists dream of a unified theory: a single mathematical framework in which all fundamental forces and units of matter can be described together in a manner that is internally consistent and consistent with current and future observation. Einstein's special theory of relativity. treats time like a coordinate in a unified spacetime geometry. then we say there are d = D + 1 dimensions of spacetime.Why is time a dimension? According to Isaac Newton. Make the extra dimensions really big. This is called Kaluza Klein compactification. (For an analogy.y. time was universal for all objects no matter their motion relative to one another. which makes classical mechanics consistent with classical electromagnetism. but superstring theory requires a 10 dimensional spacetime. Special relativity is an approximate theory that is a good approximation when we can neglect the force of gravity and the acceleration of observers in the system. This point of view held until Einstein turned it on its head. Roll up the extra dimensions into some very tiny but nonetheless interesting space of their own. 2.z). . both special and general relativity can be extended easily to higher space dimensions. So far there are two main proposals: 1. because he was bothered that it wasn't consistent with the propagation of light as electromagnetic radiation. From a mathematical point of view. If time is a coordinate. your computer screen could be said to be a two brane of three dimensional space. Why have more dimensions? It's not so hard to construct higher dimensional worlds using the Einstein equations. takes the concept of a four dimensional spacetime and extends it to a curved spacetime.x. called general relativity. Extra dimensions in string theory Superstring theory is a possible unified theory of all fundamental forces. but constrain all the matter and gravity to propagate in a three dimensional subspace called the three brane.
In string theory. So there wouldn't be any way to probe the extra dimensions in the bulk by using light. The geometry and topology of the Calabi-Yau space determine the symmetries and spectrum of the particle theory measured at low energy or large distance. gravity should propagate in all dimensions equally. the charges and the fields should propagate only on the brane.) This is a very important symmetry because it equates theories with very small extra dimensions to theories with very large extra dimensions. at least in principle. but if a realistic model had been found. had five spacetime dimensions. Light is made of electromagnetic radiation. It shows that seemingly different different string theories can turn out to be the same theory looked at in a different way. In superstring theory. existing everywhere but too small to see with existing instruments. The vibrations of the gravitational field in the rolled up extra space dimension would look to observers like vibrations in an electromagnetic field and a scalar field in the remaining three space and one time dimensions. the string oscillations have a winding mode. a subspace of some bigger space that we can't see because all matter and forces are constrained to move (mainly) on our subspace. This is one way of making a unified theory -derive all the other forces from higher-dimensional modes of the graviton. One proposed model has been to take the heterotic string theory and make six space dimensions form a small compact space called a Calabi-Yau space. There have been many interesting models. but the extra space dimension was rolled up into a tiny circle. so the spacetime that you experience would look like three dimensions (two space plus time) rather than four.The total space is called the bulk and the subspace or brane on which we would live is called the brane. But in certain braneworld models. A theory with a rolled up dimension with size R turns out to be equivalent to a theory with a rolled up dimension of size Ls2/R with the winding modes and momentum modes in the extra dimension exchanged. or brane (as in membrane). This symmetry is called T duality. A closed string can get wound several times around a rolled up dimension. even if the extra dimensions were large. (Ls is the string length scale. Gravity is the force that determines the shape of spacetime.Kaluza-Klein compactification In the original Kaluza-Klein theory from the 1920s. we wouldn't need to discuss the next option: braneworlds. Therefore. Our observed four dimensional spacetime is like the computer screen. So the underlying five dimensional spacetime only has one kind of force: a gravitational force. Braneworlds Pretend you lived on your computer screen and could only move on that two dimensional surface. But the four dimensional spacetime that is seen at large distances appears to have three kinds of forces: a gravitational and an electromagnetic and a scalar force. Kaluza-Klein compactification has to be done on six space dimensions at once. The computer exists in three space dimensions but you can only move on a two dimensional subspace made by the screen. When a string does this. That means we should be able to detect large extra dimensions by looking for suspicious behavior in the gravitational force. gravity can actually be confined or bound to . Kaluza-Klein compactification of the extra dimensions has one important difference from the particle theory version. and in a braneworld model. That's sort of the idea in a braneworld higher dimensional theory. The winding modes add a symmetry to the theory not present in particle physics.
this is about 100 GeV to 1TeV.our brane so that it doesn't propagate very far in the bulk. Supersymmetry breaking and compactification of higher dimensions have to work together to give the low energy physics we observe in accelerator detectors. On the contrary. How could they be observed? One problem with theoretical models of gravity and particle physics is that before they can make unique testable predictions of new physics. should be about 1016 GeV Mass scale below which current particle physics experiments have agreed extremely well with predictions made by Standard Model of particle physics. Size of compact extra dimensions. also determines mass of massive oscillations in extra dimensions. String scale Compactification scale Supersymmetry breaking scale Grand Unification symmetry breaking scale Electroweak scale The attribute of superstring theory that looks the most promising for experimental detection is supersymmetry. There are still Kaluza-Klein modes of oscillation in the extra dimensions. if the extra dimensions are large. Mass scale where supersymmetry is broken. so that we can't detect them. That makes the extra dimensions harder to detect using gravity. That can be a long process. and gravity is mostly confined to the brane. the gravitational oscillations have to die out quickly in those directions. they have to be worked on so that they don't contradict any existing theoretical or experimental knowledge. they are effectively invisible to our world on the brane. Braneworld models are conceptually different from compactified Kaluza-Klein models because they don't attempt to derive nongravitational forces from the gravitational oscillations in the extra dimensions. Average size of string. depending on the model in question Mass scale where unified gauge symmetry is broken and remaining symmetries split into three gauge groups of Standard Model. about 10-33 cm. In superstring theory with Kaluza-Klein compactification. could be anywhere between the Planck scale and the electroweak scale. and it's not really over for superstring theories or for braneworld models. Braneworld models in general are very different from superstring Kaluza-Klein compactification models because they don't require there to be so many steps . there are several different energy scales that come into play in going from a string theory to a low energy effective particle theory that is consistent with observed particle physics and cosmology: Scale Planck scale Definition Length scale of quantum fluctuations of spacetime geometry are important. or 1019 GeV. especially not braneworld models derived from superstring theories. once assumed to be Planck scale but now more complicated. but because they couple through gravity.
about any underlying superstring model and whether there is KaluzaKlein compactification of extra space dimensions into some tiny rolled up internal space. hopefully. then the details of the supersymmetric physics will have something to say. or whether we are all living in the four dimensional equivalent of being flies stuck on the wall of a higher dimensional Universe. . If supersymmetry is detected at next-generation particle physics experiments. The huge difference between the Planck scale and the electroweak scale is called the gauge hierarchy problem.between the Planck scale and the electroweak scale. Supersymmetry was originally interesting to particle physicists because it could address this problem. But some braneworld models need supersymmetry for the brane geometry to be stable.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.