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Explanation for the behavior of the top quark

  1. Sep 4, 2014 #1
    I read that the top quark is "the smallest quark, which means it is the most massive".

    How can it be the smallest and yet the most massive?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2014 #2


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    Could you give a reference? My understanding is that quark volumes are extremely vague and for practical purposes are considered points.
  4. Sep 4, 2014 #3


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    this can be either your misunderstanding of what you read, or your source is not reliable/nonsense. Quarks are "fundamental particles" so far, meaning we deal them as pointlike particles. The top is a quark.
    The only thing that has to do with the distance and the top, is that in order to create a top quark you need high energies [because it's massive]. Now some people tend to use instead of energies the distance r [which is ~1/E] in charts... so higher energies means you "see deeper" but that's actually not useful and has nothing to do with the top's mass, but with how energetic [or how deep] your interactions can take place.
  5. Sep 4, 2014 #4
    Think in terms of fields rather than particles and the picture is more clear. A particle having a large mass means that it takes a lot of energy to kick an excitation out of the underlying quantum field. The field is more "stiff" if you like and doesn't respond easily. It also means that such an excitation is carrying a lot of energy around with it. But the excitation is just a vibration of the field, so its "size" doesn't matter at all to this picture, and indeed as others said it will be considered as a superposition of point-like vibrations. It isn't like classical matter, where you need to collect more "stuff" into some volume to make a heavier object.
  6. Sep 8, 2014 #5
    This is just a comment for the de Broglie wavelength.

    The top is most massive and therefore the most small
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