B I've heard that particle physics is just like taxonomy and botany

  • Thread starter TechieDork
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Please , provide me some insights
I've heard it from my classmates that particle physics is just like botany or when physics meets taxonomy.
There is even a quote from Enrico Fermi about this

"If I could remember all names of these particles I'd be a botanist"

I just want to know how true is that.
 

BvU

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Total nonsense (*). Your classmates have no idea. Compare: having a periodic system of the elements doesn't make chemistry just like botany either.

(*) not the Fermi quote -- he just had a hunch there might be a system underneath -- and he was right !
 
27
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Total nonsense (*). Your classmates have no idea. Compare: having a periodic system of the elements doesn't make chemistry just like botany either.

(*) not the Fermi quote -- he just had a hunch there might be a system underneath -- and he was right !
So, there is a simple principle/rule describing the galore of these particles.
 

BvU

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There sure is. 'Standard model' is the search term
 
Well, lets add some emphasis to Fermi's quote:

"If I could remember all names of these particles I [woul]d be a botanist"
so he did not think it was necessary to remember those names (of course, many (particle) physicists still remember a lot of (not fundamental) particle names and properties, just from working with them for a good part of their lifetime).
 
27
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There sure is. 'Standard model' is the search term
You mean...

images - 2019-10-15T184516.051.jpeg


Source : SymmetryMagazine
I hope I don't have to memorize this for my graduate class.
 

BvU

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Go do botany :wink:
 
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I hope I don't have to memorize this for my graduate class.
You don't have to. It's the particle physics equivalent of writing "13+5+17+26+39" instead of writing 100. Here is a more compact version:

SMLagrangian-768x443.png


If you learn some QFT and learn the meaning of these terms it is quite easy to remember.

The Standard Model has 19 free parameters, add 7 from neutrino mixing and you have everything you need to describe the fundamental interactions in every experiment ever done on Earth. That's 26 parameters we need to measure, and thousands of values we can calculate based on these 26 parameters.

Fermi's quote is from 1963 or earlier, by the way, before the Standard Model was developed. At that time people found more and more hadrons, but didn't understand how to describe them in a unified way. That's one of the big things the Standard Model provided.
 

Vanadium 50

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Fermi's quote is from 1963 or earlier
I hope it's before he died in 1954! The alternative is frightening.

Actually, I doubt he said this. So far as I can tell, it only occurs in talk introductions by Lederman, who was very fond of, well, let's call them tall tales.
 

fresh_42

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I've heard it from my classmates that particle physics is just like botany or when physics meets taxonomy.
This is an old fashioned point of view, probably from the '70s, when particle after particle were discovered and a unifying description hadn't been found yet. Now we have such a description: quantum chromodynamics and quantum electrodynamics.
 
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I hope it's before he died in 1954! The alternative is frightening.

Actually, I doubt he said this. So far as I can tell, it only occurs in talk introductions by Lederman, who was very fond of, well, let's call them tall tales.
Oh, didn't know he died so early. I found this mentioned 1963, so no matter who said it: The quote predates the SM.
 

kith

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Griffiths' "Introduction to Elementary Particles" contains a nice history of the particle zoo and the path to the Standard Model.
 

pinball1970

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Summary: Please , provide me some insights

I've heard it from my classmates that particle physics is just like botany or when physics meets taxonomy.
There is even a quote from Enrico Fermi about this

"If I could remember all names of these particles I'd be a botanist"

I just want to know how true is that.
Reminds of the below.
'That which cannot be measured is not Science, Science that is not physics is just stamp collecting.'
Rutherford I think.
 

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