What are the heaviest and lightest particles?

  1. Are they the electron neutrino and the Z˚?
  2. jcsd
  3. anti_crank

    anti_crank 128
    Science Advisor

    The top quark is heavier than the Z. There are also massless particles like the photon and gluons.
  4. Ahh, yes I forgot the massless particles... :biggrin:
    Ok, excluding those, what are they? Thanks, it was the top quark.
  5. anti_crank

    anti_crank 128
    Science Advisor

    The electron neutrino is your best bet; AFAIK the mass differences measured recently from oscillations do not allow to distinguish which of the flavours is lighter. It is probably more correct to say that the lightest neutrino mass state is the lightest particle, since weak force states like electron/muon/tau neutrinos do not have well defined masses in view of oscillations.

    There are hypothetical ultra-light particles like axions, and there are hypothetical particles at the grand unification scale of masses around 10^15 GeV. It's also possible that the Higgs boson, if it exists, is heavier than the top quark.
  6. Hija guys... I've got a question, it's for my Physisc teacher.

    She asked us to do a project of negligible particles on this world.
    I think that the almost massless particle is ELECTRON and PHOTON (i dont know any further). Am I right? I wanna get 10, so I'm asking professionals. :] If you would answer me, may You answer in language known-for-everybody? :] Think you know what I mean. Thx for answers.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2008
  7. What does she mean by "negligible particles"?
  8. negligible means that the particles have almost no mass
  9. 'almost' isn't exactly the kind of term used in particle physics.
  10. well then how do you call it? With minimum mass? Could be, couldn't be?
  11. either it has mass [like an electron] or it doesn't at all [like a photon]. There is no particle having a 'negligible mass'. 'Negligible' is a term which depends upon the experiment we conduct. 'Negligible' in a general sense doesn't really mean anything.
  12. Don't blame me, that was her idea to put such a word in there :]

    and i've got a note:

    if photon carries an energy, then it's obvious that it HAS mass, isn't it?
  13. Neglible in terms of a car might be 10 grams, but in particle physics many times smaller than that. Are you saying that the word "negligible" can have an infinite amount of values, another example would be big?
  14. It's so obvious, yet you are unsure? :tongue:

    Have a look in the FAQ of this forum, it will answer your question. :smile:
  15. so, ELECTRON is the lightest one, if photon doesn't have mass?
  16. Look, if you cannot do quick research using google or wikipedia that's fine with me, but atleast read the whole thread.
    As stated above, the lightest particle would probably be neutrino.
  17. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 30,744
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I think it's time to bringing in a proper reference here. The Particle Adventure webpage is very well-designed for non-physicists to get some idea of the zoo of elementary particles within the Standard Model. This link gives you the most up-to-date info on such particles. One can easily compare the masses and figure out which one is the "heaviest" and which one is the "lightest" and which ones have no mass within our current understanding.

    If you want a more technical catalog of these and other "fundamental" particles in high energy physics, then the Particle Data Group would be the place to go.

    Hopefully, all of these sites will equipt you on "how to fish", so that you will know where to look next time you have similar questions.

  18. I did some quick research on both google and wikipedia and did not find the answer to the question...:confused: Why do you assume he hasn't read the whole thread? He/she is obviously unsure and probably just wants to make sure, I see no harm in that.

    Lo4eath, I had a look around and found some information, it is put very simply but should get the message across :smile:

    Small Introduction
    "Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light and have a negligible rest mass. Although there are vast numbers of neutrinos arriving at earth from beta decays all over the universe, they lack an electrical charge and are therefore able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed and with very few interactions they are thus extremely difficult to detect."

    Answer to your question
    "Until recently, it was believed that they had no mass but a few years ago it was found that they have a very small mass, much lighter than electrons."

    I think that neutrinos would be along the right lines. Hope this helped. :smile:

    EDIT: Thanks for the links ZapperZ, I'll have a look!
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2008
  19. yeah, that's right (i have no clue what neutrino is, but.. :] ), but as i have posted it, i want to know which one is lighter in between ELECTRON and PHOTON. So, i think that the answer is: PHOTON is the lighest one, in the case that we are comparing those two, but if photon DOES have a mass... am i right?
  20. A photon has no mass.
  21. I am sorry if I have been too harsh. However there are information about each particle and its weight, if he is really interested, a small research wouldnt hurt.

    Photon does not have a mass. Atleast not rest mass.
    Therefor, answer to your question, which particle has the least rest-mass is either:
    Photons and all the other massles particles.
    or - if you want the least amount of mass, but still mass > 0:
    Probably neutrinos which are lighter than electrons.
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