Tuesday, January 03, 2006

bosons go with forces, fermions with stuff

Cosmic Variance sent me to bosons and fermions, allegedly all literate people should know the difference. I can't keep 'em straight, so since the best way to learn something is to write it, here goes.

Bosons are immaterial. Bosons overlap, they hold things together -- or push them apart. They are Force particles. Photons are Bosons. The undiscovered Graviton is a Boson. The also undiscovered Higg's Boson is thought to provide things with Mass (mass = E/c**2).

Fermions, even though they inconveniently start with the letter F, they are "stuff". They take up space. They exclude one another. Protons, neutrons, electrons, mosts (all?) quarks and leptons are Fermions. They are "Firm".

Why are Fermions and Bosons called "particles" when Bosons are ephemeral? Bahh. I vote for banning the word "particle".

No comments: