# Help a science noob: What is a meson?

1. Jan 1, 2014

### sciencenoob

Hello, first post.

I am trying to understand what a meson is. I have googled this and looked at both the wiki page and several intro physics presentations, but the concept is eluding me.

Could someone please explain what a meson is?

Thanks,
sciencenoob

2. Jan 1, 2014

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus
What exactly did you find and what did you not understand? Without you telling us that, we might give you the very same information that you could not comprehend.

Zz.

3. Jan 1, 2014

### sciencenoob

Thanks ZapperZ for the reply. I am essentially trying to translate the below into English so that a non-science person with no physics background can understand it. I don't really understand any of this, actually. Is a meson a subparticle that is, in turn, bound together by other subparticles, and which somehow combines with something to create larger particles? It seems to be some kind of building block but I do not understand the relationship, further confused by the fact that they are "unstable" and "last only a few hundredths of a microsecond." Thank you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meson

In particle physics, mesons (/ˈmiːzɒnz/ or /ˈmɛzɒnz/) are hadronic subatomic particles composed of one quark and one antiquark, bound together by the strong interaction. Because mesons are composed of sub-particles, they have a physical size, with a radius roughly one femtometre, which is about 2⁄3 the size of a proton or neutron. All mesons are unstable, with the longest-lived lasting for only a few hundredths of a microsecond. Charged mesons decay (sometimes through intermediate particles) to form electrons and neutrinos. Uncharged mesons may decay to photons.

4. Jan 1, 2014