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"Natural" vs. Laboratory Particles

  1. Jul 30, 2014 #1
    Of the 61 known elementary or fundamental particles, which ones exist in the everyday, "natural" world of the Earth, and which have been created or only found among laboratory experiments?

    The 61:
    red/blue/green up/down/strange/charm/top/bottom quarks and their antiparticles make 36
    photon/W+, W-, Z/Higgs/8 gluons make 13 more
    electron/muon/tau and their antiparticles make 6 more
    electron/muon/tau neutrinos and their antiparticles make 6 more

    Some of these are obviously natural (up and down quarks, etc.) but I'm asking for them all anyway.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    All of them exist in nature - the most high-energetic cosmic rays hitting objects like earth have more energy (even in the center of mass system) than our current accelerators.

    Up and down quarks (with all 3 colors), all 8 gluons, photons and electrons make up the matter we see.
    Neutrinos of all types are very frequent, but hard to see, and muons are produced in relatively large amounts from cosmic rays.
    There are also some positrons and anti-up and anti-down quarks flying around.

    All other particles are rarely produced and decay very fast, so their number of real particles is very small.
  4. Jul 30, 2014 #3


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    In general, the answer to your question is "it depends"... it depends on the energies you work with...
    In the "natural world" you see electrons, neutrinos, photons and protons/neutrons (or more precisely nuclei).
    The quarks and gluons are not "natural" below some energies (pions and nucleons are more natural).
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