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Elementary Particle Physics

  1. Sep 12, 2008 #1

    I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I've been interested in science for while a white, most notably theoretical physics. In the end, I decided to go for a degree in Computer Science, but haven't lost my interest in physics.

    With the introduction of CERN, I'd be interested if anyone could recommend some books (elementary), more specifically on particle physics.

    I did physics up to A-Level standard (UK educational system). And have a good knowledge of the usual protons/neutrons/electrons, and a vague (very basic) understanding of muons, quarks, anti-protons,bosons.etc. but would like to get a better understanding of these various particles, and how they act, react, and interlink with the more commonly known particles.

    I'm hoping this will give me a better grasp of the processes, and possibly math, behind CERN.

    Could anyone recommend any (beginner,.... based on the math/intellect here) books or websites that would provide a good basis for reading based on my level of knowledge?

    I've read all the usual 'A Brief history of Time' and 'An Elegant Universe' type books, but I'm looking for a more scientific, explanation book.

    I dont mean to be arrogant/up myself, but I was a straight A student, so I think if I can get to some good articles/books on my level of understanding, I might eventually be able to make sense of some of the equations in this forum!

    On another note, I've heard some rumours that hawking has a bet that no Higgs Boson will be found with CERN, and that he had predicted the outcome (and expects a Noble prize if he is correct). Is this more media cr*p, of could anyone spread some light on it?

    Thanks for reading this far!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2008 #2
    Hi jquail, and welcome to PF,

    As introductory text to particle physics for the standard model, there are a couple of well-known ones
    • Gordon L. Kane, Modern Elementary Particle Physics
    • Griffiths D., Introduction to elementary particles
    • Perkins, Introduction to High energy physics
    • Halzen & Martin, Quarks & Leptons / Povh & Al, Particles and Nuclei: An Introduction to the Physical Concepts
    More advanced if the others are too low level for you
    • Aitchison & Hey, Gauge theories in particle physics
    • Cheng & Li, Gauge theory of elementary particle physics
    • Donoghue & Al, Dynamics of the Standard Model (phenomenology)
    • Pokorski, Gauge field theories (theory)

    Hawking is serious about the Higgs. He is not the only one with strong doubts. :rolleyes:
  4. Sep 12, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the texts humanino. I will definitely check those out. I appreciate the time taken to recommend them. I just seem to find a lot of theories which i have thought myself at one point and have been discarded due to science beyond my current knowledge. I'd like to move up in the science ladder for lack of a better euphamism.

    On another note I noticed the reply to my question "On another note, I've heard some rumours that hawking has a bet that no Higgs Boson will be found with CERN, and that he had predicted the outcome (and expects a Noble prize if he is correct). Is this more media cr*p, of could anyone spread some light on it?"

    Is lack of the Higgs Boson a more common scientific belief? Or is hawking in the minority with regards to this belief?

    Also, has anyone heard the Noble Prize quote from Hawking? I've only heard it through traditional media as opposed to Scientific Journals, so I'm not sure of its validity.
  5. Sep 12, 2008 #4
    PS - Thank you for the welcome!
  6. Sep 12, 2008 #5
    I just noticed that I wrote several times "& Al". I did not mean my neighbour Al, I meant "and others" as in "& al" but for some reason, I used a capital "A". That's silly.

    I think everybody agrees that there is something playing the role of the standard model Higgs boson. But I would also imagine that the majority thinks the standard model single Higgs boson is not the end of the story. The standard model itself, as successful as it is, has shortcomings. I would elaborate on that, but others on this forum will be more qualified than me to do so.
  7. Sep 12, 2008 #6
    I appreciate the insight. As much as I would love the others to give me insight on this, I doubt my knowledge of physics would allow me to comprehend it at this point.

    But hey, it's worth a try! ;)
  8. Sep 12, 2008 #7
    To give an indicator of my level of understanding, it lies around the level of the wiki article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_particles . I'm not sure, but this seems like a good knowledge base to build from (not from my knowledge, but from were you can see my knowledge is at, and to advise, if possible, any relevant materials (other than wikipedia hopefully!)).

    I would appreciate any books/articles than would give me a better understanding than in the previous wikipedia article.
  9. Sep 12, 2008 #8


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    Staff: Mentor

    I thought you meant Al Gore. :rofl:
  10. Sep 12, 2008 #9
    Based on my early reading in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_particles,
    is it harder to detect a Higgs boson, because several bosons can occupy the same quantum state, versus an electron, for example, as only one can occupy one quantum state at one time (a fermion?)?

    However, from what I know, electrons dont actually definitively occupy a particular space at a particular time (fermions?), but have a possibility of occupying that space, without and definitive possibility. So is a quantum space for bosons the same as that for fermions?

    I think what I'm trying to say (assuming quantum space is the same space that I am talking about in the previous text) , what is the difference between no possibility of occupying the same quantum space of borons vs. the possibility of occupying the same actual space of fermions.

    I'm not too sure if I'm making sense with this, but I would apprecaite your opinions, or books, that would give me some guidance towards this.

    Thanks again!
  11. Sep 13, 2008 #10


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    No its hard to detect the higgs boson since
    1) interact weakly
    2) unknown decay products, mass is not specified in theory
    3) lots of background from other particle decays.

    And "state" and "place" is not the same thing.
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