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Feedbackon a proposed baryon nomenclature

  1. May 4, 2012 #1
    I'm not really sure if this is the best place to ask this, but I'm doing a master's on a new hadron nomenclature. As part of it, I'm currently writing an article on baryon names, which I'm probably going to submit it to Physical Review D after my supervisors give the thumbs up. (I'm not really sure what I'll end up doing with mesons, maybe a letter instead of a full article.) Since my supervisors are rather busy at the moment, they suggested I gathered feedback from other people, so here I am.

    Basically, I'm moving from an isospin-based nomenclature to something that better-reflects the current understanding of hadrons. The goal is more or less to discard everything that's been done before (bottom-up approach), and start with a clean-slate (top-down approach). The concept of isospin is generalize to all quark symmetries (not just the up and down quarks), and a vastly simplified naming scheme is proposed. This new naming scheme should, if adopted, make the physics of baryons considerably more accessible for both experts and newcomers alike.

    The article assumes you've encountered SU(2) and SU(3) symmetries before, but the article aims for a very wide audience and isn't very technical in nature. Most of it should still be accessible to people without strong backgrounds in group theory. I've had a few fellow students (in completely different fields), and they found the read to be enjoyable and easy to follow, but as we've studied together for a while, this might be due to familiarity with my work and my in-real-life communication skills (I gave a talk on the topic at the CAP Congress in 2009, and a few in-department talks).

    A PDF of my current draft is attached to this post. Since it's not been reviewed yet, the usual caveats apply about possible mistakes, wrong physics, typos, etc... Feedback on the substance of the article is mostly what I'm looking for, and I'm also interested on problems regarding the clarity of ideas and referencing, and since this would be my first publication, on the article's general tone (too timid/aggressive, too formal/informal, etc...). But any other comments would also be appreciated as well, such as if you'd approve/reject this article if you were to review it, or if you personally like/dislike the current and proposed baryon names.

    -Gaetan Landry / Headbomb

    Edit:Also if an admin wants to change the thread title to "Feedback on a ...", they would be more than welcomed to.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 4, 2012
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  3. May 5, 2012 #2


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    Interesting concept. I don't like the current baryon naming system, and writing down the quark content is nice.
    How do you treat higher excited states and baryon resonances (which happen to be the same)?
    I think I would use a different letter for qqq', as I don't like hand-written zetas.

    10 without the top, which does not form hadrons anyway.

    One minor thing: ζ*ucc should have ++ instead of + (fig 7 top+middle)
  4. May 5, 2012 #3
    * The idea with resonances would be to use the spin state (when known) rather than masses. So instead of e.g [itex]\Lambda^0[/itex], [itex]\Lambda^0(1405)[/itex], [itex]\Lambda^0(1520)[/itex], ... you would have [itex]\kappa'^0_{uds}(1/2^+)[/itex], [itex]\kappa'^0_{uds}(1/2^-)[/itex], [itex]\kappa'^0_{uds}(3/2^-)[/itex], ... [if the spin-state is unknown/uncertain, you could always fall back on mass]. Of course [itex]J^P[/itex] isn't unique, so using something like [itex]N^{2S+1}L_J[/itex] instead might be better.
    * Yes, 10 sets without the top. All my numbers include the top, because, assuming top quarks are found to hadronize after all, they would require names.
    * Regarding symbols, if you rule out currently-used symbols for particles, you're stuck with a very limited number of symbols you can use (see note 31).
    * Good catch with figure 7. I've yet to review all my figures for this sort of stuff.
  5. May 6, 2012 #4


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    What about other capital letters? Some of them should be free, and capital letters for baryons and small letters for mesons would be some reasonable concept.
  6. May 6, 2012 #5

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    First, the tone is, for lack of a better term, "snotty". It comes across as a complaint that previous work in the field just didn't have your wisdom and insight. Blaming resistance on "nostalgia" is, quite frankly, needlessly offensive.

    Second, if I were the referee of this paper, I would recommend rejecting it.

    1. Changing the particle naming convention is A Big Deal. You should have interviewed R. Michael Barnett, head of the PDG, before starting this project. He would have told you about all the howling when the F was renamed Ds, and his inability to rename the J/Psi as the more logical phi_c in the face of opposition. This is sloppy scholarship. I wouldn't let you get away with this if you were my student, and it surely does not belong in PRD.

    If you think there was a fight when the F was renamed, imagine what happens when the proton is renamed!

    2. The point of nomenclature is to facilitate communication. The reasons you suggest changing essentially boil down to aesthetics. The exact same argument could be used to say that we should conduct all scientific conversation in Turkish, to avoid irregular verbs. Neither that proposal nor yours will facilitate communication.

    3. Your claim "Few particle physicists could tell you exactly what a cascade+_c or Omega_b- is without going back to the 1986 Review of Particle Properties from the Particle Data Group (PDG)", with which you use to build the foundation of your argument is unsubstantiated. I would also argue that for physicists who study hadrons, this is both offensive and wrong. For physicists who do not study hadrons, it's irrelevant.

    As far as referring to using your work as "standing on the shoulders of giants", I recall a line from Bull Durham: "Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob. "

    The solves a non-problem at high cost, and does it in a way that single-handedly dispels the notion that Canadians are polite.
  7. May 6, 2012 #6
    Well symbols like δ and π would certainly be available in writing, but if you use say δ instead of ζ, you would sometimes say (orally) something like "the δ baryons are...". In this scheme, it would refer to all baryons made of quarks of two distinct flavours, which would be confusing with the four deltas of the current scheme, as there would be no way to tell if you were speaking of the δ or the Δ.
  8. May 6, 2012 #7
    Well I'm trying to avoid snottyness, because it's not meant to be snotty. However, I won't hold back criticism of the current nomenclature, out of fear to "offend". If ideas offend you, then science shouldn't be your field.

    And I do recognize it's a big deal. Hence why this is a proposal, to be considered by the particle physics community at large. As for accusations of sloppy scholarship, I resent that. One does not need commitee approval to explore ideas. The current nomenclature was designed in a certain way, I propose another. If the community decides the proposed nomenclature is superior to the old one, and worth the transitition, it should be adopted. Or maybe the feeling would be that the proposed nomenclature would be clearer, but not worth the transation hassle. Or maybe the feeling would be that isospin is the king of symmetries, and that things are clearer when viewed through a bottom-up rather than top-down approach. But if you can't publish ideas based on red tape and bureaucracy, that's simply appalling.

    As far as the fuss about renaming the J/Psi and the F, I'm well-aware of it. But that's nostalgia, and I'm not concerned with that. What I'm concerned about is building a good, easy to remember, and clear nomenclature.
    Uh no. It boils down to making physics clearer (aka the entirety of section IV). It's not difference for difference's sake. I'm honestly beginning to wonder if you read anything but the intro and conclusion.

    Then why is it that whenever I ask particle physicist, alright, pop question, what's a [itex]\Xi'^+_c[/itex], no one can answer the question off the top of their heads? I never had a chemist (or physicist) say "Well give me a minute, I need to check" when asked "what's 16O?"

    "Shoulders of giants" is meant to refer to the modern six-quark model and its builders. If that's ambiguous then I'll need to rephrase, because this is not a reference to my work.

    Well there I simply disagree.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
  9. May 7, 2012 #8


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    Hmm ok, right. Latin alphabet? This would avoid any similarity to current baryons (but not mesons), and neutron and proton will keep their names and alternative symbols anyway.

    But it is a good idea to ask them in the process, too.

    These words are quite funny in the context of quarks.
  10. May 7, 2012 #9
    Latin opens up some more possibilities. You could probably manage something like A/E/H baryons instead ε/ζ/κ, but my personal preference is for Greek symbols. As for talking to the PDG, we planned on doing so after publication for a variety of reasons (some personal, others because of certain time-constraints, and to a lesser extent because it might be hard to get their attention without a publication / grad degree).

    As for the unintentional quark puns, it makes me smile every time. I try to say something like "using a top-down rather than a bottom-up approach reveals the strange charm of the quark model" whenever I give a talk on the subject.
  11. May 7, 2012 #10


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    A long time ago (after the b quark had been discovered, but not yet the t quark) I saw a preprint with the title "Topless bottom models in E6". :blushing:
  12. May 7, 2012 #11


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    Here are 3 problems:

    1. Technically, this is unpublished work, in which case it is not really appropriate for discussion at our forum. So I am locking this discussion.
    2. Your thesis advisor really should make time to advise you on this, and offer some guidance up front. That is part of his or her job responsibility.
    3. The general tone of the paper appears much too informal for publication in Physical Review or other peer-reviewed scientific journals.
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