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New to particle physics

  1. Sep 19, 2008 #1
    Hi, I am new to the area of particle physics and I am still in highschool and I was wondering if somebody could answer a few questions that I have.

    1) Where is a good school in Canada to go to for particle physics
    2) Can for example 8 up quarks be combined together using strong nuclear force so that they begin exchanging gluons and stay together even thoug they all have +2/3 charge or would there be some sort of radioactive problem with a massive amount of + charge.
    3) if there is a complete surrounding of an up quark by a bunch of other up quarks that are linked together with gluons in every direction would the up quark just sit in the middle because it is receiving equal repulsion from all sides or does it not work like that.
    4) is there any good books that anyone recommends getting and reading on particle physics at a more introductory level.

    Thanks in advance. All help is appreciated.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2008 #2
    Hi cam875, and welcome to PF,
    So far, we have never observed such an exotic beast. Some people search for exotics, different from [itex]qqq[/itex] or [itex]q\bar{q}[/itex], but they suggest possibilities like [itex]qg\bar{q}[/itex] or [itex]qqq\bar{q}q[/itex] which is better motivated than yours from group-theoretical arguments (color, or QCD-SU(3) representations).
    That also, described as such, is too exotic for QCD as far as we can tell
    Maybe you can begin with The particle adventure
  4. Sep 19, 2008 #3
    sounds good, and thanks for the good reply but I am still wondering about any schools that are good for getting a degree in particle physics or should I just get a physics degree first and than go to graduates school for particle physics sort of like a specialization.
  5. Sep 19, 2008 #4
    I only know MacGill, in Montreal, I spent 3 months there, it's a very nice place.
  6. Sep 20, 2008 #5


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    Yes, particle physics is a specialization, it doesn't matter in the first few university years. The best thing is to get a good general physics and mathematics education in the first few years, which will allow you (if you haven't changed your mind by then, as you will have encountered physics domains you didn't know much about or didn't even know existed by then, and might interest you more) to integrate a good graduate school for particle physics.
    In fact, you should try to find out whether you're more theoretically or experimentally inclined: there's (unfortunately in my opinion) almost a bigger distinction between experimental and theoretical particle physics, than there is, say, between experimental particle physics, and medical physics.
  7. Sep 20, 2008 #6
    i dunno im really interested in learning about what the smallest things in the universe are and how they work and form structures and figure out if there is anything smaller than that so what would that be theoretical or experimental?

    Also for the strong nuclear force to work between two up quarks do they have to be fired at each other to break through the repulsion force from electromagnetism so that they can begin exchanging gluons and therefore begin sticking together?

    And is the string theory actually something worth getting into and learning or is it not classified as real science or something.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2008
  8. Sep 20, 2008 #7


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    Wow - the audacity! :bugeye:

    Actually, I'm an experimental biologist, so don't take what I say seriously! :rofl: But one of the things I found most interesting is actually condensed matter physics, which seems to give a very interesting angle on quantum field theory, and might even shed some light on "fundamental" physics.

    Origin of Light
    Xiao-Gang Wen

    A lattice bosonic model as a quantum theory of gravity
    Zheng-Cheng Gu and Xiao-Gang Wen
  9. Sep 20, 2008 #8


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    :rofl: People are divided on this one. Some people think it is the top of theoretical physics, other think that it is theorists gone bezerk, and that it isn't science anymore, as about all defining aspects of science fail when applied to what's happening in string theory. There are real people getting real salaries from real science institutions for doing it - maybe that's enough to qualify it as science. We have real string theorists here on PF. We also have real scientists here on PF who don't think much about it. I guess the real dichotomy is that string theory isn't "finished yet". So it is not working (yet?). String theorists think they are on something, and will make it work, in which case it will be one of the most brilliant achievements ever - others are of the opinion that this is taking a long time to make something work, and that nothing useful will turn up.
  10. Sep 21, 2008 #9


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    Well, he's in high school now - that gives them 4 years? :smile: to solve the landscape problem.

    Here's a list of books I found useful - but again - my point of view is that of an amateur - I'm not remotely a professional physicist: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/books.html
  11. Sep 21, 2008 #10


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    "1) Where is a good school in Canada to go to for particle physics?"
    I suggest Toronto, McGill, or UBC for graduate work, but there are several other good Canadian unilversties for undergraduate. You can't really decide what branch of physics until upper level undergraduate work. You're not ready for the rambling discussion in this thread.
  12. Sep 21, 2008 #11

    George Jones

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    At this level, I recommend highly the non-mathematical book Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics by Bruce A. Schumm,


    Read the reviews and use the Search Inside feature to look at stuff like the Table of Contents.
  13. Sep 21, 2008 #12
    This is a wrong question for you to ask anyway in this context. Learn what is well-established (standard models of particles and cosmology) as much as you can, by that I mean concentrate on making sure you really understand everything and possibly more than what is taught to you in school. Spend only a minimum amount of spare time studying anything beyond those established models until you reach a level where you can make up your own mind on what you want to do.
  14. Sep 21, 2008 #13
    ok thanks for all the advice and help and after i get a good understanding and background on this stuff what kind of math should i become proficient in inorder to begin working with it mathematically?
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
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