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Thread: Beauty and Truth - what happened?

  1. #1 Beauty and Truth - what happened? 
    Forum Freshman Quantumologist's Avatar
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    The three pairs of quarks were originally named Up, Down - Strange, Charm - Beauty, Truth.

    Beauty and Truth became delegated to Bottom and Top.

    Why?

    The only explanation I can find on the net is this one (the same is replicated on other sites) The Particle Adventure | What is the world made of? | The naming of quarks Too cute. Strange and Charm hung onto their titles, though. Why did Beauty and Truth lose their original identity?And jjust as importantly - if not more so - why were they given these names in the first place? I can find no explanation for the reason they were thus named anywhere at all, but there must have been a reason. This is science. I've posted it in the Pseudoscience section in deference to not being currently acceptable.


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    The names top and bottom were introduced by Haim Harari in 1975,[8][9] to match the names of the first generation of quarks (up and down) reflecting the fact that the two were the 'up' and 'down' component of a weak isospindoublet.[10] The top quark was sometimes called truth quark in the past, but over time top quark became the predominant use.


    On its discovery, there were efforts to name the bottom quark "beauty", but "bottom" became the predominant usage, by analogy of "top" and "bottom" to "up" and "down".

    It's quite possible the "lost" names were never widely accepted but instead promoted by pop-sci articles. (Catchy name, let's use it).
    It's somewhat fortunate (IMO) - in light of the foofaraw over the name "god particle" (i.e. the religious connotations and subsequent attempted co-option) - that "truth" was dropped otherwise some bonehead would make use of that: If that one's truth does it mean all the others are false? etc.
    As for why those names that's easy: they needed a name and you have to start somewhere1. Physicists have (at least) as much of a sense of humour as anyone else, viz: barn, quark...

    I've posted it in the Pseudoscience section in deference to not being currently acceptable.
    Um... this is. Moved.

    1 Terry Pratchett took a good-natured dig (he did use to work in the nuclear industry) with his "resons" (basic building block of the "thaum" - a unit of magic) being called up, down, sideways, sex appeal and peppermint. It could so easily have gone that way in real life.


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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    The names top and bottom were introduced by Haim Harari in 1975,[8][9] to match the names of the first generation of quarks (up and down) reflecting the fact that the two were the 'up' and 'down' component of a weak isospindoublet.[10] The top quark was sometimes called truth quark in the past, but over time top quark became the predominant use.


    On its discovery, there were efforts to name the bottom quark "beauty", but "bottom" became the predominant usage, by analogy of "top" and "bottom" to "up" and "down".

    It's quite possible the "lost" names were never widely accepted but instead promoted by pop-sci articles. (Catchy name, let's use it).
    It's somewhat fortunate (IMO) - in light of the foofaraw over the name "god particle" (i.e. the religious connotations and subsequent attempted co-option) - that "truth" was dropped otherwise some bonehead would make use of that: If that one's truth does it mean all the others are false? etc.
    As for why those names that's easy: they needed a name and you have to start somewhere1. Physicists have (at least) as much of a sense of humour as anyone else, viz: barn, quark...

    I've posted it in the Pseudoscience section in deference to not being currently acceptable.
    Um... this is. Moved.

    1 Terry Pratchett took a good-natured dig (he did use to work in the nuclear industry) with his "resons" (basic building block of the "thaum" - a unit of magic) being called up, down, sideways, sex appeal and peppermint. It could so easily have gone that way in real life.
    Indeed. Nice explanation. Especially about the putative bonehead.

    One could also adduce the example of the "colour charge" of quarks, which has f-all to do with colour (they needed a label for a property that can come in 3 varieties so they chose red, green and blue) And of course the name "gluon", which, hohoho, sticks quarks together.
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    Forum Freshman Quantumologist's Avatar
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    Lovely, thank you. But why beauty and truth in the first place? Strange and charm are still used in connection with properties https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangeness and strangeness as a term pre-dates the quark discoveries, so does anyone know what the inspiration for beauty and truth was in the first place, or what the terms were intended to relate to?

    The link to Barn units is fun and I appreciate that humour comes in as with eg Goldilocks zones but someone might have an inkling about the quarks as there may be some alive who were around when they first appeared ,or have come across references in research of quark history.
    Last edited by Quantumologist; October 11th, 2017 at 08:29 AM. Reason: To appreciate the Barn thing?...
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    But why beauty and truth in the first place?
    Random whim possibly.

    or have come across references in research of quark history.
    In >40 years of reading this sort of stuff I've never come across any "explanation" for the choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    But why beauty and truth in the first place?
    Random whim possibly.
    Indeed. Physicists, like anyone else, do have a sense of humour. There is a unit of measurement used to define the probability of two particles colliding; it is called the "barn" (as in the old adage "couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo").

    Chemists may be worse though: Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    One could also adduce the example of the "colour charge" of quarks, which has f-all to do with colour
    Similarly "spin" - it's not what it sounds like.

    And of course the name "gluon", which, hohoho, sticks quarks together.
    Which is why I really like Pratchett's "resons" - Latin for "thing-ies"1 - and although I suspect that the pronunciation is properly "rez - on" a slight change means that all of that magic stuff happens because of "reasons" (to advance the plot being the main one).

    1 And there's probably a physicist somewhere that's kicking himself that he didn't get "thingy" (or possibly "doodah" or "whatchamacallit") accepted as a name for a sub atomic particle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Chemists may be worse though: Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names
    I used to work in the same department as this author of this site (my office was a few doors away from his), he's a funny guy
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    And moving on to geology...
    First day at Reading Uni a friend and I were browsing the various student societies when he spotted the geological stand. And then... "I can name most of those" he said, "but I haven't got a clue what that rock is".
    "That", said the (very posh - cut glass accent) young woman "is a good example of fubarite".
    "Er, what? Never come across that in any of the books1".
    "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition-ite".

    We thought that term so good that we later introduced the biology tutor to fubaritic mitosis (because none of us could get the damned thing to work properly2).

    1 This was 1980 - apparently it is some books (but modified for polite consumption) now.
    2 It was also the the same week we conclusively demonstrated that science had consistently over estimated g and that it is, in fact, a mere 3.3 m/s2 ( or at least it was in one particular spot of one particular physics lab in Reading Uni). After all of those breakthroughs it's no wonder we hit the student bar so heavily at nights.
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  11. #10  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    This physics paper ("Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?") has a great abstract: https://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2832
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    And the chemists will like this one on chemical-free products: https://cdn.paperpile.com/blog/files/Goldberg-2014.pdf
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  13. #12  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    This physics paper ("Can apparent superluminal neutrino speeds be explained as a quantum weak measurement?") has a great abstract: https://arxiv.org/abs/1110.2832
    You don't think it's too technical for most members here?
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    Speaking as a layperson, the realm of sub atomic particles appears to be completely surreal, and totally different from the world we inhabit.
    The use of words, such as charm, colour etc., may show a sense of humour, but I believe we can also conclude there is a massive amount scientists do not understand about the "weird" nature of events down there.
    I understand light is too "gross" to isolate these unimaginably small "objects", such as quarks and electrons but, of course, that does not mean they are not "there".
    Do they lack a physical appearance and thus it will never be possible to describe them in words, but only in the language of mathematics?
    I get the impression scientists, in this field, are almost entirely concerned with the behaviour of these entities and not their "nature" - if that makes any sense?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Speaking as a layperson, the realm of sub atomic particles appears to be completely surreal, and totally different from the world we inhabit.
    It certainly is!

    I understand light is too "gross" to isolate these unimaginably small "objects", such as quarks and electrons but, of course, that does not mean they are not "there".
    The question of whether things are "there" or not is a difficult one. We can now image molecules and atoms and see that their shapes, and the shapes of the bonds between them, match the weird shapes predicted by quantum theory. So perhaps we can conclude that electrons and orbitals are real. But maybe they aren't and we just happen to have a model based on them that happens to match the way things behave and appear.

    Do things like the electromagnetic field exist? We see light and the effects of magnetism that are based on them. But does that mean the fields exist, or are just a useful fiction.

    Do they lack a physical appearance and thus it will never be possible to describe them in words, but only in the language of mathematics?
    Pretty much.

    I get the impression scientists, in this field, are almost entirely concerned with the behaviour of these entities and not their "nature" - if that makes any sense?
    That is the nature of modern science. We realised some time ago that we can't consider our theories to be a description of reality, or a search for "truth". For example, Newton's theory of gravity and GR are completely different descriptions of reality and yet they both work. Ditto classical electromagnetic theory and quantum theory. Is light a wave or a particle. It depends which theory you sue and which questions you ask with that theory. So maybe it is both. Or neither.
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Speaking as a layperson, the realm of sub atomic particles appears to be completely surreal, and totally different from the world we inhabit.
    The use of words, such as charm, colour etc., may show a sense of humour, but I believe we can also conclude there is a massive amount scientists do not understand about the "weird" nature of events down there.
    I understand light is too "gross" to isolate these unimaginably small "objects", such as quarks and electrons but, of course, that does not mean they are not "there".
    Do they lack a physical appearance and thus it will never be possible to describe them in words, but only in the language of mathematics?
    I get the impression scientists, in this field, are almost entirely concerned with the behaviour of these entities and not their "nature" - if that makes any sense?
    I think that could be said of just about all scientific concepts, seeing that the goal is to make a predictive model in accordance with observation. Describing behaviour is the focus. The "nature" of things, to the extent that that goes beyond a description of behaviour, is not really part of science, it seems to me. But the distinction is certainly most acute in fields of study that cannot readily be visualised.
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    I wonder about this, particularly in feeling that intuition, being a major part of the scientific mind, has to play some role in the naming equation. Appreciating that sometimes an analogy is just too good to resist, such as Goldilocks zones and 'ballerina's skirts', the naming of new particles has a special place and I just can't imagine that 'beauty and truth' would have been plucked out of thin air for no reason at all. I appreciate, too, that any evidence of reasoning may be lost to the annals of time, but it is a question which has troubled people who see the renaming "bottom and top" as a delegation of something significant. Yes, the equations demand that keeping the B and T is easier, but nevertheless it has to be said.

    I disagree that the nature of things is not really part of science, and by the same token believe that the consideration of why things behave as they do is as important as the fact that they do. Results can be wildly wrong, as in many studies of animal behaviour leading to assumptions as to why they do what they do, but in matters of particle physics the investigation of such thought processes is, I believe, valuable. It should be as inappropriate for someone to say to another, "You shouldn't be wasting your time thinking like that," as it is to accuse someone with a different area of interest of being 'wrong'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    I just can't imagine that 'beauty and truth' would have been plucked out of thin air for no reason at all.
    I'm not convinced.
    Quark, for example was used simply because Gell-Man had read Joyce1 (and at the time it was thought that there would only be three types of quark). If the name was meant to have any genuine significance surely the discovery of other flavours2 (another "meaningless" name) then it would have been revised to be more in keeping...
    E.g.
    The fourth quark type, the charm quark, was named on a whim.
    and
    The fifth and sixth quarks were sometimes called truth and beauty in the past, but even physicists thought that was too cute. (Both quotes from here).

    1 It was less than a year after the naming that a fourth one was predicted.
    2 Finnegan's Wake: Three quarks for musther Mark.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    I just can't imagine that 'beauty and truth' would have been plucked out of thin air for no reason at all.
    I'm not convinced.
    Quark, for example was used simply because Gell-Man had read Joyce1 (and at the time it was thought that there would only be three types of quark). If the name was meant to have any genuine significance surely the discovery of other flavours2 (another "meaningless" name) then it would have been revised to be more in keeping...
    E.g.
    The fourth quark type, the charm quark, was named on a whim.
    and
    The fifth and sixth quarks were sometimes called truth and beauty in the past, but even physicists thought that was too cute. (Both quotes from here).

    1 It was less than a year after the naming that a fourth one was predicted.
    2 Finnegan's Wake: Three quarks for musther Mark.
    Yes, it seems obvious that T and B were the initial designations, meaning Top and Bottom. Seems likely that some whimsical person then thought it would be fun to give them more arbitrary labels, to show that the attributes of these things cannot be related to anything at all in everyday experience. I expect whoever it was had in mind Keats's Ode on a Grecian Urn: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." So, as with quarks themselves, a nod to literature and a sign that scientists have actually been known to read poetry.

    The snag of course is that people then come along and over-interpret these labels. As may be the case with Quantumologist, perhaps.
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    Oh, this is nice stuff. I had not read Keats. Yes, I can buy that explanation, and as you say, I can over-interpret, which is not a bad trait since it is better to think on things deeply than not to think on them at all.

    Since scientists have been known to read poetry, I wonder what you'll make of this: The Love of Tau - Quantumology

    When I learned about Tau there was an instant resonance (woo term for inner response of inexplicable sensation). Then to find that Tau and Beauty were related, cemented the feeling that something important was going on here. As threaded elsewhere, my belief that there may be an underlying relationship between quarks and neutrinos strengthened at that point, and The Love of Tau was written. I can't guarantee that an administrator won't catch you reading it, of course, and can accept no responsibility for any action, loss, damage or threat to person or property that may arise from doing so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    Oh, this is nice stuff. I had not read Keats. Yes, I can buy that explanation, and as you say, I can over-interpret, which is not a bad trait since it is better to think on things deeply than not to think on them at all.

    Since scientists have been known to read poetry, I wonder what you'll make of this: The Love of Tau - Quantumology

    When I learned about Tau there was an instant resonance (woo term for inner response of inexplicable sensation). Then to find that Tau and Beauty were related, cemented the feeling that something important was going on here. As threaded elsewhere, my belief that there may be an underlying relationship between quarks and neutrinos strengthened at that point, and The Love of Tau was written. I can't guarantee that an administrator won't catch you reading it, of course, and can accept no responsibility for any action, loss, damage or threat to person or property that may arise from doing so.
    A bit twee and schmalzy for my taste. Unfortunately, about what I was expecting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    When I learned about Tau there was an instant resonance (woo term for inner response of inexplicable sensation). Then to find that Tau and Beauty were related, cemented the feeling that something important was going on here. As threaded elsewhere, my belief that there may be an underlying relationship between quarks and neutrinos strengthened at that point, and The Love of Tau was written. I can't guarantee that an administrator won't catch you reading it, of course, and can accept no responsibility for any action, loss, damage or threat to person or property that may arise from doing so.
    Are you referencing the Tao (as in the Tao Te Ching, The Tao of Pooh and other similar works)? If so, that's great for poetry, but it is important to note (as this is a boring science site) that the particle Tau is named after the Greek letter (at that time there was a whole zoo of particles named with different Greek letters) while the Tao is Chinese (the "way" = "dou" in Japanese: Judou, Shodou, etc).
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    OThen to find that Tau and Beauty were related
    How so?
    The tau is a lepton, beauty (bottom) is a quark.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    OThen to find that Tau and Beauty were related
    How so?
    The tau is a lepton, beauty (bottom) is a quark.
    I wonder if it is a male thing to associate beauty with a bottom.

    Then again..when I was in my 30s, women commented favourably on mine, so maybe not necessarily.....
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    I can imagine you back in the day copying Atkins's tight leather trousers... :shudder:
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I can imagine you back in the day copying Atkins's tight leather trousers... :shudder:
    Ho ho, reminds me of that exchange in Orton's "Entertaining Mr. Sloane:
    "Tell me, do you ever wear leather trousers without, er.......without, er......."
    "Oonderpants?"
    "Aw get away with you!"

    Actually, though, I have never bowled from the pavilion end. I was thinking rather of weekends at the sailing club in Dubai, where work colleagues and their wives and husbands engaged in a certain amount of sizing up of the talent, such as there was.

    Are we off-topic? A bit.
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    Twee and schmaltzy it may be, and having read your declaration of wealth and connection, my reaction is similarly associated with fingers slid to the back of the throat.

    Tau (the lepton) and the Beauty quark are both 'heavy' particles - there, purely scientifically, the connection ends, but I wouldn't mind betting there'll be more to this story one day.

    There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that can make science boring other than the teachers of it. I found Frank Close, John Gribben and a few others to be eloquent and fascinating in transposing the truths as they are presently known. This is not a 'boring science site', it's a forum, and that means it is as interesting as the contributors wish to make it. There will always be those pro facto conversationalists who determinedly shout down the contributions of others, but then ego has more to do with this kind of behaviour than science does.

    On page 169 of The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene says, "The elegance of rich, complex and diverse phenomena emerging from a simple set of universal laws is at least in part what physicists mean when they invoke the term 'beautiful'." This sentence did make me wonder whether the naming of the Beauty and Truth quarks did not arise from such a sense, that the discovery of the final pair in some way heralded a completion, even though Gell-Mann may not have envisioned it as such and the discoveries as they go along cannot be viewed as finalities in any way while there are still aspects of the universal system, including the human aspects, yet to be explored in terms of physics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    Twee and schmaltzy it may be, and having read your declaration of wealth and connection, my reaction is similarly associated with fingers slid to the back of the throat.

    Tau (the lepton) and the Beauty quark are both 'heavy' particles - there, purely scientifically, the connection ends, but I wouldn't mind betting there'll be more to this story one day.

    There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that can make science boring other than the teachers of it. I found Frank Close, John Gribben and a few others to be eloquent and fascinating in transposing the truths as they are presently known. This is not a 'boring science site', it's a forum, and that means it is as interesting as the contributors wish to make it. There will always be those pro facto conversationalists who determinedly shout down the contributions of others, but then ego has more to do with this kind of behaviour than science does.

    On page 169 of The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene says, "The elegance of rich, complex and diverse phenomena emerging from a simple set of universal laws is at least in part what physicists mean when they invoke the term 'beautiful'." This sentence did make me wonder whether the naming of the Beauty and Truth quarks did not arise from such a sense, that the discovery of the final pair in some way heralded a completion, even though Gell-Mann may not have envisioned it as such and the discoveries as they go along cannot be viewed as finalities in any way while there are still aspects of the universal system, including the human aspects, yet to be explored in terms of physics.
    Well no, "lepton" means light. As opposed to Baryon, which means heavy. And if you don't like my reaction to that poetry, you should not have invited my opinion.

    As for "wealth and connection", I'm a bit baffled. I worked for Shell for most of my career, in a variety of unglamorous technical, supply and marketing jobs in the lubricants division, and got sent, as a single unattached man, to Dubai in the early 1980s, when it was not at all how it is today. I admit I saved enough while I was there to buy a small house on my return, but I never had any "connections".

    I am not "shouting down" your contributions. On the contrary I am engaging with you and asking you to support your statements, where they seem to me controversial. So far you have failed to address any of my queries. It seems to me that if you want your consulting business to succeed, you won't get far by ducking awkward questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    Tau (the lepton) and the Beauty quark are both 'heavy' particles - there, purely scientifically, the connection ends, but I wouldn't mind betting there'll be more to this story one day.
    It is certainly interesting that the fundamental particles come in threes.

    (But the quark corresponding to the Tau as the heaviest quark is the Top, not the Bottom.)

    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    I seem to remember reading that "aces" were the rival name for these entities now called "quarks".
    The decision to favour "quarks" makes the surreal nature of the exercise even clearer.
    Is it likely quarks, themselves, could consist of even smaller "particles"?
    Impossible to answer correctly, at present, but I suppose it is just possible.
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  31. #30  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Is it possible quarks, themselves, could consist of even smaller "particles".
    That is one of the (many) things they are looking for at the LHC: Hunting season at the LHC | CERN
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  32. #31  
    Forum Freshman Quantumologist's Avatar
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    Keats, huh? Poetic concept the most likely... Surprised no-one's mentioned Einsteins', especially since this is a science forum:

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/105...-me-and-filled
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    Keats, huh? Poetic concept the most likely... Surprised no-one's mentioned Einsteins', especially since this is a science forum:

    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/105...-me-and-filled
    Those three, goodness, beauty and truth, might have done well for the colour charge. But choosing only two out of three seems a bit arbitrary. I think I stick with my speculation about Keats.

    (Mind you, in my opinion Keats was talking out of his arse when he wrote that. There is no equivalence at all between beauty and truth, so far as my experience of the world in concerned. Beauty can in fact be cruelly deceptive. And the truth can be hideously ugly.)
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  34. #33  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    A bit of barely relevant trivia, Chandrasekhar (who Google celebrated yesterday) wrote a book called "Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science"
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  35. #34  
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    What exchemist said about truth and beauty, it’s true. About how they contradict their own labeling. They both make very good weapons.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
    -Kurt Vonnegut Jr.-
    Cat's Cradle.
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  36. #35  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    But as they say, never bring a Truth to a Beauty fight. Or something ...

    Did you hear about the dyslexic who took words to a gnu fight...
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  37. #36  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Halliday View Post
    Is it possible quarks, themselves, could consist of even smaller "particles".
    That is one of the (many) things they are looking for at the LHC: Hunting season at the LHC | CERN
    Thanks for the link!
    Back in 1993 the US Congress cancelled the project to construct the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas.
    Am I correct in saying this machine would have been a more powerful particle accelerator than the LHC?
    Last edited by Halliday; October 21st, 2017 at 07:54 AM.
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  38. #37  
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    Have they rounded up a Gluon at the LHC then? Or are we beautifully close to the truth about virtual particles?
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