1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Special relativity: particle collision

  1. Jun 27, 2010 #1


    User Avatar

    SOLVED: Special relativity: particle physics

    Tomorrow is the exam! My fourth SR question.

    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    There is a [tex]\beta[/tex] breakdown(?) of a neturon, resulting in
    [tex]n \rightarrow p + e^{-} + \nu^{-}_{e}[/tex]

    I have to find the maximum speed of the electron, the decomposing neutron is still.
    I'm also given the masses of the proton, the electron and the neutron.

    2. Relevant equations

    In next:

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Right, here is what I have written down from the lecture:

    We can consider (in simplification) the antineutrino and the proton as one particle and their impulse as:

    The total impulse is conserved, resulting in:


    This is because the decomposing neutron has no impulse. We also take [tex]c=1[/tex]

    The total energy is conserved:

    [tex]m_{n}=E_{p^{-}}+E_{e}[/tex] !NB! to the c=1 and stationary neutron

    Right, but now comes the thing I don't get;


    Where does this square root expression come from?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2010 #2
    It comes from the general equation for the energy:

    [tex]E^{2} = (m c^{2})^{2} + p^{2} c^{2}[/tex]
  4. Jun 27, 2010 #3


    User Avatar


    I went trough the derivation and I'll put it here for further reference;

    We know that:



    But we can write




    Putting the two impulse squares together:


    From there:

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Special relativity: particle collision