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Importance of other Elementary Particles?

  1. Aug 8, 2009 #1
    Another question that i am not even qualified to ask:

    So i know that all the quarks have a job creating mesons and baryons. And i know the electron is a lepton with a very important job with the structure of an atom. But what is the importance of the muon, the tao, and all three nutrinoes? Ive never read that much about them, except when i was learning special relativity and heard about the muon experiment. Furthermore, whats the importance of all the other baryons and mesons besides the proton and nuetron. I havent really read anything about them either.

    Im not doubting they have importance, im just asking where they are important.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2009 #2


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    Importance is a subjective question. These other particles are there. For ordinary chemistry and biology, it is sufficient to consider only protons, neutrons, and electrons. Neutrinoes appear in beta decay. Everything else is of interest only to physicists and astronomers.
  4. Aug 8, 2009 #3
    well, what i mean by important is what do we know about them that effects us? atoms are what all matter is made up of, so protons, nuetrons, and electrons are important. But what does the other particles do?
  5. Aug 8, 2009 #4
    As said, neutrinos are involved in beta decay and they are a byproduct of nuclear fusion, so they contribute to the origin of solar energy.

    The existence of three families of quarks & leptons may have contributed to matter-antimatter imbalance, and that explains why we're here in the first place. Their relevance to our everyday activities is probably very low.
  6. Aug 9, 2009 #5
    I guess you could say muons are important in that they help validate Einstien's theory of special relativity. They are created in our upper atmosphere and decay very quickly, so quick in fact, that at travelling 99% the speed of light, should decay before they reach the Earth's surface. Yet they are still detected. The only way we can currently explain this is with SR's time dilation equation. (The faster an object moves, the slower time ticks for that object).
  7. Aug 9, 2009 #6
    yea, i meantioned that in my OP, have we used taus in anything?
  8. Aug 12, 2009 #7
    Maybe we'll really understand their importance if we ever get a complete model of particle physics. Right now the standard model is a hodge podge of components which in aggregate work pretty well but is clearly incomplete.
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