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Why is weak force short range action?

  1. Apr 24, 2013 #1
    In Deep Down Things, an excellent book of B Schumm, at page 288, he explains that the weak force is short range because the Weak quanta have a large mass. Using de Broglie wavelength relation:
    Lamda = h / p, he gets a wavelength of 10 ** -18 m, and he concludes that this is the W quanta range of action. My understanding of de Broglie wavelength is that any object has a wavelength, and its span varies with the momentum. So, a baseball would have a very short wavelength, but nothing prevent us to throw the ball at many meters.

    So, what prevents the W quanta to travel long distance? Or what do I miss interprete about de Broglie wavelength? Is the physics particle context different for de Broglie's equation?

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2013 #2


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    It's not the de Broglie wavelength that's involved here, it's the Compton wavelength. If he says de Broglie, he's wrong. The Compton wavelength ħ/mc does not depend on the momentum.

    For a W meson one can calculate ħ/mc = ħc/mc2 = (200 MeV-f)/80 GeV ≈ between 10-15 and 10-16 cm.
  4. Apr 24, 2013 #3
    He does refer to de Broglie, probably for simplification purpose. The book is a great intro to particle physics.
    I will read more on Compton wavelength. Ignorance is our worst enemy
    Thank you Bill for your time and quick response :-)
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