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A Palette of Particles


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In the first paragraph we read: "The physics of elementary particles in the 20th century was distinguished by the observation of particles whose existence had been predicted by theorists sometimes decades earlier. There were also particles no one had predicted that just appeared. Five of them are of interest to me here. In order of increasing modernity, they are the neutrino, the pi meson, the antiproton, the quark and the Higgs boson." That list is of expected, not unexpected, particles; it should have been attached to the first sentence of the article, not to the sentence that actually precedes it. The article is actually about expected particles; consequently, its subtitle is also misleading. This confusion must be due to mistaken editing.
Likewise, in the sixth paragraph: "And we know that there are three distinct kinds and that they are all massive. This means that they move at speeds close to that of light." On the contrary, what means that they move at speeds close to that of light is not that they are massive, but that they are *almost* massless.
posted by Joseph Fineman
February 20, 2012 @ 11:39 AM

 

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