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Standard Model Predicts Subatomic Particles, Then They Are Observed, But Do We Know

  1. Oct 13, 2011 #1
    Do the scientists making these discoveries know factually that, for example, when they split the proton and viewed quarks, that these quarks are indeed the exact thing we believe them to be or was the assumption made that because the Standard model predicted it, and that we later saw a dot cluster in a proton, that the only explanation is they are quarks?

    This question applies to all subatomic particles, not just quarks. What I'm trying to get at is if the Standard Model is indeed debunked for varies reasons (i.e. Higgs Boson is proven not to exist), what would that mean for other various subatomic particles who have been viewed?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2011 #2
    Re: Standard Model Predicts Subatomic Particles, Then They Are Observed, But Do We Kn

    In science, one must have a model against which to compare observations, preferably as many competing models as you can imagine. When quarks were first proposed is was as a classification scheme to explain the pattern of baryons that has been observed. Historically I don't know what models it was competing with (the "Eightfold Way" was something of a predecessor I believe), but I am sure there were many. However it went, observations were made that the quark model explained but the others did not, thus the quark model won the day. The construction of the rest of the standard model was not so different.

    As for debunking the Standard Model, well, it is unlikely it would have a hugely profound impact on our knowledge of the other elementary particles. After all we have measured their properties and interactions to be fantastically in accord with the predictions of the Standard Model, so whatever we replace it with must effectively have the same physics nested inside it. We will merely expand our knowledge, not rewrite what we already know. World-view-shattering paradigm shifts are incredibly rare. Although the recent Nobel Prize in physics was for some fairly mind-blowing observations that we have yet to explain satisfactorily :).
  4. Oct 16, 2011 #3
    Re: Standard Model Predicts Subatomic Particles, Then They Are Observed, But Do We Kn

    Remember that these reactions are lab produced and do not necessarily mean they are the macroscopic working. Why do you think there are glaring exceptions to kinematics? Measurement interruption for one. We are incapable of measuring without interruption.
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