Boson and electron mass and speed in beta decay

1. Nov 6, 2008

james mccue

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?

2. Nov 6, 2008

malawi_glenn

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

$$E^2 = p^2 + m^2$$

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

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