Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

March 2006

Oxhill

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Contents

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March 2
Cover Picture
Service Times
Flowers in Church
April Issue
Junk Mail & Sales Calls
World Prayer Day
Nature Notes
Calling All Gardeners
Oil Consortium
Garden Club
Home Nursing
WI Report
For Sale
Lenten Services
Memorial Concert
Fairtrade Fortnight
Village Hall
Missing Bins
To Daffodils

Next ]

March 2

Is the Feast day of Saints Chad and Joavan.  Why only two?  Most days do far better.

It is also the day in 1995 when two competing teams of scientists using different detectors at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois announced that they had found the top quark, the last unknown among the six quark particles thought to be the building blocks of matter.  As most of us had no idea it had been lost, this last phrase may need a little explanation, so here goes.

Baryons and mesons are complex subatomic particles built from more elementary objects, the quarks.  Six types of quark, together with their corresponding antiquarks, are necessary to account for all the known hadrons.  The flavours of quark have acquired the names up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom (Salt & Vinegar and Prawn Cracker are no longer used.)  Physicists claim that the meaning of these somewhat unusual names is not important.  Physicists always consider the most interesting things to be unimportant; it is in their nature.

The table below gives you some information about the properties of quarks.

quark type

Baryon  number

charge

strangeness

charm

bottom

top

mass    (MeV)

Down

1/3

(1/3)e

0

0

0

0

515

Up

1/3

+(2/3)e

0

0

0

0

28

Strange

1/3

(1/3)e

1

0

0

0

100300

Charm

1/3

+(2/3)e

0

1

0

0

1,0001,600

Bottom

1/3

(1/3)e

0

0

1

0

4,1004,500

Top

1/3

+(2/3)e

0

0

0

1

180,000

You must understand that antiquarks exist for all flavours of quark, and that they have opposite values for all of the numbers listed in the table. Physicists invented antiquarks because without them their sums did not add up right.

In addition to combining to form simplistic particles such as protons and neutrons, three quarks can be combined to form a larger particle in such a way that their spins do not cancel.   The result is a short-lived resonance state called a delta (Nile, Mississippi, etc.).  The up and down quarks can combine in four ways, up/up/up, up/up/down, up/down/down and down/down/down.  There is also a fifth possibility, ignored by most physicists, of down/down/deeperanddown, This is important because it gives us the Status Quo.

I hope that makes it all clear.  There was once a wise man who said "The number of particles in sub-atomic physics is an accurate measure of the ignorance of physicists about what actually happens".  Another theory suggests that all the sub-atomic particles are themselves formed from just three sub-sub-atomic particles.  These are called nigs, nogs and nags.

There may be a test next month.  On the other hand, there just might not be.

Editor

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Last modified: March 06, 2006