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Questions about weak force +bosons

  1. Mar 7, 2009 #1
    i cant seem to find any straightforward descriptions of it for why+when its needed. Plus im really confused as to how they weighed the bosons if they only exist for less than a nanosecond. im more interested in finding out how scientists figured out the bosons weight than anything
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2009 #2


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    ok, you mean why there is need of gauge bosons?

    The simplest answer is first that the bosons are VIRTUAL, they are a mathematical tool/term which shows up when you calculate the interaction by means of perturbation theory. They are virtual particles since they do not fulfil E^2 = p^2 + m^2. So as an example the W boson which 'is responsible' for beta decay, is not there, it exists in calculations. The description why they are needed can not be straightforward presented since it is graduate level physics.

    Now all gauge bosons have physical counterparts, real observable particles. e.g in top-quark decay, it decays into a botton quark and a W boson. Those particles are real, they are 'on shell' i.e they fulfill E^2 = p^2 + m^2.

    But the W-boson is unstable, and decays into several things, and it is those things which are caught in the detector. One does not find the mass of particles by putting them on a weight-scale, one reconstruct/calculates the mass by looking at the four-momentum vectors of the detected particles.
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