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Standard Model help requested .

  1. Feb 22, 2006 #1
    Standard Model help requested.....

    Hi all,

    I hope this is the appropriate forum for asking about the Standard Model of particle physics.

    My formal education covered only chemistry, semiconductor physics, classical physics, special relativity, and introductory quantum mechanics. So my understanding of physics pretty much stops with electrons, protons, neutrons, and photons. I understand that shooting protons into a material led physicists to conclude atoms are primarily empty space, with only an occasional collision with a nucleus. I understand this experiment begat the nuclear model.

    Can you recommend reading for explaining the genesis of subatomic particles (leptons, quarks, neutrinos, etc.) that comprise the Standard Model of Particle Physics ? To me, these particles are just characters in a fairy tale. I'd like to know what experimental results led physicists to postulate their existence.

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2006 #2


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    There's no possible understanding of the way this model is built, unless your knowledge of group theory and gauge theory is quite vast...
    That's my opinion.

    P.S. A good reference to original articles and experiment you can find in the bibliography of D.J.Griffiths' book on elementary particle physics. You can also use the internet: PDG's webpage and also CERN's are quite rich in information.
  4. Feb 23, 2006 #3


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    I have a couple of books about the history of particle physics, written for non-specialists. They're both a bit old now, and may not be in print any more, but you may be able to find them in libraries.

    Michael Riordan, The Hunting of the Quark (Touchstone, 1987)

    Peter Watkins, Story of the W and Z (Cambridge U. Press, 1986)

    Other similar books have been written since then, but I don't have any names on the top of my head. I think the only really big experimental discoveries since then have been (a) the finding of the top quark, which further verified the Standard Model, and (b) the observation of neutrino oscillations (implying that neutrinos have mass), which are not part of the original Standard Model, but can be easily incorporated into it.

    There's also a book about the Standard Model and its experimental tests, by Byron Roe, which has been through at least a couple of editions. It's more technical, but might be useful for you anyway. My copy is at home and I don't remember the title. After I get back from class next period I'll see if I can find it on Amazon.
  5. Feb 23, 2006 #4

    Hans de Vries

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    This might be something for you:

    "The Ideas of Particle Physics : An Introduction for Scientists"

    Book Description:
    "This is the second edition of a book that has already been well received as a clear and readable introduction to particle physics. It bridges the gap between traditional textbooks on the subject and the popular accounts which assume little or no background in the physical sciences on the part of the reader. The first edition has been carefully revised throughout to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of this fascinating subject. There are also four completely new chapters covering quantum gravity, super-unification, the relationship between particle physics and cosmology, and superstrings. Historical developments are discussed, together with the most important recent experiments, and the theoretical development of the subject is traced from its foundations in relativity and quantum mechanics through to the very latest theories. The book is intended for anyone with a background in the physical sciences who wishes to learn about particle physics. It will also be of value to students of physics wishing to gain an introductory overview of the subject before getting down to the details of the formalism."

    Regards, Hans
  6. Feb 23, 2006 #5


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  7. Feb 23, 2006 #6
    For anyone looking for a slightly more technical book, there is a compilation called "The Rise of the Standard Model", edited by Hoddeson, Brown, Riordan, and Dresden. It contains semi-technical (there are a few formulae and plots, nothing too intense) papers by a lot of the people who were involved in the events of the 60s and 70s, so it's quite a fun read.

    I'd also second the recommendation of "Hunting the Quark", it's a very good piece of historical writing. "Nobel Dreams" by (I forgot the author) is also fun reading, although not so much about the history.
  8. Feb 24, 2006 #7
    Thanks, all, for your suggestions.
    I await the name of Byron Roe's book, if you still have it. Thanks for the particle data group website. It will give me something to read while I wait the books. I sure hope these particles square with quantum mechanics.
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