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Boson and electron mass and speed in beta decay

  1. Nov 6, 2008 #1
    My first post - Hi everyone.

    I've been reading about boson mass and speed for a couple of hours but I can't seem to find answers.

    - What is the speed of the W boson during beta decay? If it has a huge mass shouldn't it be a lot slower than leptons?

    - I assume the electron and antineutrino are travelling close to the speed of light when emitted?

    - the mass of the W boson is around 80GeV, the electron and antineutrino have masses of around 500KeV. Where does all the extra mass/energy go? Do they have a greater speed?

    many thanks for reading this.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2008 #2


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    The W boson in beta decay is a virtual particle, which does not need to fullfil the criteria:

    [tex] E^2 = p^2 + m^2 [/tex]

    One can think of this as virtual particles VIOLOATE this law, during a small interwall, such small time interval so that [tex] \Delta E \Delta t > \hbar / 2 [/tex]

    That is the answer to your question, the W boson in beta decay is a virtual particle.
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