Beauty and Charm Glossary
This glossary is provided for teacher reference only and is not intended
for direct teaching or memorization.
Accelerator - A machine that serves as a source for a well-defined
beam of high speed particles for studies in nuclear science and high energy
(or particle) physics.
Antiparticle - Particle with the same mass but opposite charge (and
some other properties) as another particle under normal earth conditions.
Atom - The basic structural unit of each of the elements in the Periodic
Table. Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons.
Bohr Model - Model of the atom proposed by Neils Bohr in 1913. It
showed electrons in fixed orbits around the nucleus, but acting in some
ways like waves.
Bubble Chamber - A container filled with a liquid under low pressure
so that a moving, charged particle initiates "boiling" in the
liquid along its path. This track of bubbles is recorded on stereophotographs.
Circular Accelerator - Scientific machine in which particles are
accelerated as they travel around a circular path.
Electromagnetic Force - Attraction or repulsion due to the electric
charge of matter.
Electron - A point-like particle with a negative charge; member of
the lepton group and thus not divisible into more fundamental particles.
Electron Cloud Model - Current model of the atom in which electrons
are located in regions according to rules of probability rather than in
Electron Volt (eV) - The amount of energy given to an electron when
passing from the negative end to the positive end of a one-volt battery.
Gluon - Carrier of the strong force which binds quarks together in
protons, neutrons, and other particles.
Graviton - A massless particle whose exchange between masses is thought
to produce the gravitational force.
Gravity - The attraction of mass to all other mass. Gravity is the
weakest known force in nature at normal energies.
Hadron - Particles made up of two or three quarks bound together
by the strong force.
Lepton - An indivisible fundamental particle. There are six leptons
plus their antiparticles.
Linear Accelerator - Also called a Linac, a scientific machine in
which particles are accelerated in groups along a straight line path.
Macrocosm - A large system.
Microcosm - A very small system, such as an atom.
Neutrino - A lepton of zero mass and zero electric charge.
Neutron - A particle with mass slightly larger than that of the proton,
but with zero electric charge; a neutron is a hadron and is made up of three
Nucleus - Positively charged central core of an atom which is responsible
for almost the entire mass of the atom. It is made up of protons and neutrons.
Photon - A particle with zero rest mass that transmits the electromagnetic
force. Light is made up of photons whose energy depends on the wavelength
Proton - A positively charged particle 2,000 times more massive than
an electron that, with neutrons, forms all nuclear matter; a proton is a
hadron and is made up of three quarks.
Quark - A fundamental particle. There are six quarks (but only five
have been observed) plus their antiquarks. Each quark and antiquark exists
in three "colors."
Strong Force - Force that binds quarks and holds the nucleus of an
atom together. It is the strongest force in nature.
Superconductor - A metal that when cooled below a critical temperature
has a total disappearance of electrical resistance. Twenty-five elements
and many alloys and compounds have been found to be superconducting. The
critical temperatures range from .002 k to 18K (-273 C to -255 C).
Unified Field Theory - The single physical principle or law that
would explain the link between the four known forces of nature.
Weak Force - The interaction that controls radioactive decay.
KeV - thousand electron volts (103)
GeV - billion electron volts (109)
MeV - million electron volts (106)
TeV - trillion electron volts (1012)
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Last Update: Janaury 12, 1996