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Podcast Profile: The Field Guide to Particle Physics

podcast imageTwitter: @seanforscience
49 episodes
2021 to 2022
Average episode: 7 minutes
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Categories: Monologue (Non-Course) • Physics

Podcaster's summary: This is your informal guide to the subatomic ecosystem we’re all immersed in. In this series, we explore the taxa of particle species and how they interact with one another. Our aim is give us all a better foundation for understanding our place in the universe. | | The guide starts with a host of different particle species. We’ll talk about their masses, charges and interactions with other particles. We’ll talk about how they are created, how they decay, and what other particles they might be made of.

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List Updated: 2023-Dec-02 13:28 UTC. Episodes: 49. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2022-Dec-07 • 13 minutes
The Reason for Antiparticles
Antimatter is uncommon, but it’s not exactly rare. Antiparticles - especially those generated by cosmic radiation - are all around us, all the time. But just what is it doing here? As we discuss, the role of antimatter is fundamentally tied to our experie
2022-Nov-04 • 16 minutes
Bonus : The Perils of Science Communication
Where do we draw the line between Outreach and Clickbait?
2022-Sep-27 • 10 minutes
Bonus : The Physics of Muon Colliders
Novel technology and perhaps physics awaits us if we’re brave enough to build one.
2022-Sep-22 • 9 minutes
Bonus: We should build a muon collider.
Particle Physics is a source of more than just fascinating questions. Today we give four important reasons why we should build another particle collider. Share these four reasons with someone, especially if they aren't bought in!
2022-Sep-20 • 19 minutes
Bonus : Do we really need new particle physics?
A realistic, pragmatic look at the Standard Model of Particle Physics, and what might remain to be seen.
2022-Sep-05 • 14 minutes
The Positron Excess
Searching for antimatter in the wild reveals a bit more than we expected. But only a bit. Are pulsars to blame? or is it Dark Matter?
2022-Aug-16 • 12 minutes
The Antineutrino
Are there antineutrini out there? Yes, surely. But, a better question is what are antineutrini?
2022-Jul-29 • 5 minutes
The Antineutron
Like the antiproton, the antineutron is a composite particle made up of antiquarks. It looks a lot like the neutron, and that’s pretty interesting because both of those particles have no electric charge!
2022-Jul-27 • 7 minutes
The Antiproton
Virtual pions and gluons and other quantum effects are all dressed up in the antiproton package around three valance antiquarks. That’s two anti-up quarks and one anti-down quark. The antiproton looks virtually identical to the proton - except that it ha
2022-Jul-21 • 6 minutes
The Positron
The positron is the antiparticle partner to the electron. Like the electron, positrons are stable. They do not decay. But of course, we don’t see may of them around.
2022-May-13 • 2 minutes
Antimatter! : Season 3 Trailer
Introducing Season 3!
2022-Apr-21 • 17 minutes
The Impact of Particle Physics on the Moon
Planetary scientist Jean-Philippe Combe joints us to discuss the how cosmic rays and particles from the solar wind impact and affect the surface of the moon.
2022-Apr-09 • 17 minutes
Cosmic Rays : Part 4 : Paleoclimatology and Muons
When ice forms it traps air molecules with it. Ancient ice, trapped deep in glaciers near the Earth's poles can give us a record of what the atmosphere was like thousands - if not millions - of years ago. But only if we can calibrate the relationship betw
2022-Apr-02 • 12 minutes
Cosmic Rays : Part 3 : Cosmogenic Muons and Special Relativity
Muons are all around us. Virtually all of them are the debris associated to collisions of cosmic rays from the upper atmosphere. We discuss why muons are present, and how their presence is a direct validation of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.
2022-Mar-25 • 13 minutes
Cosmic Rays : Part 2 : Plasma Physics
To explain the origin of cosmic rays, we discuss how out-of-equilibrium plasma physics can boost ions to extremely high velocities.
2022-Mar-18 • 10 minutes
Cosmic Rays : Part 1 : Particles from Space
The Cosmic Ray mini-series begins with the OH MY GOD! Particle.
2022-Mar-04 • 7 minutes
The Omega Baryon
The Omega Baryon is the strangest particle we have encountered so far. It may also be the strangest particle known to Science, literally.
2022-Feb-25 • 6 minutes
The Cascades
Prepare for trouble! And make it double! Today we confront the two Cascade or Xi /ksee/ baryons which each have a PAIR of strange quarks.
2022-Feb-18 • 7 minutes
The Neutral Sigma Baryon
The Field Guide to Particle Physics : Season 2 The Pasayten Institute cc by-sa-4.0The definitive resource for all data in particle physics is the Particle Data Group: Pasayten Institute is on a mission to build and share physics knowledge, without barriers! Get in touch.The Neutral Sigma BaryonsIntroductionWeighing in at 1192 MeV, the middle-weight sigma baryon is also the the electrically neutral one.The Sigma Baryons are a trio of strange, ...
2022-Feb-11 • 10 minutes
The Charged Sigma Baryons
The Sigma Baryons - that’s a capital Sigma - are a trio of slightly heavy cousins to everyday particles like the proton and the neutron. With masses of almost 1200 MeV each, it may surprise you that the physics of Sigma baryons feels much closer to a comp
2022-Feb-04 • 7 minutes
The Neutral Kaons
The neutral kaons are strange mesons that also live unexpectedly long. The difference between these two brings even more surprises. Their identities are a bit mixed up; they depend upon which nuclear force they're talking to.
2022-Jan-28 • 6 minutes
The Eta and Eta Prime Mesons
The Eta and Eta Prime particles are a pair of electrically neutral particles that were - for a moment anyway - the center of a fierce debate among physicists.
2022-Jan-21 • 4 minutes
The Charged Kaons
Strangeness - as a property of particles - was an attempt to explain why some particles took a really long time to decay. By that measure, the charged Kaons are definitely strange.
2022-Jan-14 • 5 minutes
The Strange Quark
Quarks make up baryons like the proton and the neutron. Or more exotic things like the Lambda0 or the Delta++. Previously, we’ve learned about the up and down quarks - those fundamental constituents of matter like protons and neutrons. Today we’re learnin
2022-Jan-11 • 3 minutes
The Lambda 0 Baryon
The long lifetime of the Lambda 0 was so strange that physicists knew there was something special about that particle. It had a special property. And in the 50’s this new property of particles was showing up in more and more experiments.
2022-Jan-05 • 2 minutes
Season 2 Trailer : Introducing Strangeness
Happy New Year!! Welcome to the world of Strange particles, literally.
2021-Dec-21 • 10 minutes
The Alpha Particle : Part 5 : The Solar Wind
Forget the Earth. This time we see how the production of helium via alpha decays powers a force field that surrounds and protects the Earth... and us.
2021-Dec-11 • 10 minutes
The Alpha Particle : Part 4 : Inside the Earth
Finally, we answer the question: What on EARTH does Helium have to do with Particle Physics
2021-Dec-09 • 9 minutes
The Alpha Particle : Part 3 : Binding Energy
Where does Helium come from? We finally explore this question, which becomes a discussion of nuclear physics and radioactivity.
2021-Dec-06 • 12 minutes
The Alpha Particle : Part 2 : The Helium Shortage
Helium is at scale used for all kinds of industrial purposes, including superconducting magnets! We explore these example, and describe where on Earth Helium comes from. Finally we review the recent history of government policy and the commodities market
2021-Dec-02 • 7 minutes
The Alpha Particle : Part 1 : Helium
The Alpha Particle Mini-Series begins with a discussion of Helium gas. What on EARTH does Helium have to do with particle physics?
2021-Oct-08 • 4 minutes
The Higgs Boson
As far as we know, there is no other particle like the Higgs Boson, but there probably should be.
2021-Oct-07 • 3 minutes
The Z Boson
Every once in a while, without warning, an electron is accelerated seemingly out of nowhere. Ripped from whatever atom, molecule or metal it had been associated with, it suddenly becomes it’s own ballistic particle. When this happens, a Z-boson has almost
2021-Oct-06 • 4 minutes
W Boson
With a mass of 80.4 GeV, the W-bosons are heavy particles. On paper, they carry the weak nuclear force and have much in common with the photon and the gluon. But look closely, these bosons are very different beasts.
2021-Oct-05 • 7 minutes
The Gluon
The strong nuclear force - the fundamental force behind the subnuclear junk we find inside the nucleons - is communicated via a particle very similar to the photon. But you’ll have to excuse their name, however apt. The particles that communicate between
2021-Oct-04 • 5 minutes
The Delta Baryons
The Delta baryons are combinations of up and down quarks. They’re like the proton and the neutron, only much more heavy and much less stable. They all seem to have about the same mass - around 1232 MeV, but we don’t really have a good handle on it. That i
2021-Oct-03 • 4 minutes
The Neutral Pion
In many ways, the neutral pion - sometimes call the π0 meson - is closely related to the charged pions. In others, the neutral pion is a truly bizarre little beast.
2021-Oct-02 • 4 minutes
The Charged Pion
There are three kinds of pions: pi plus, pi minus and pi zero. Compared to the proton, they’re quite small and a little quirky. They’re certainly unstable. Today we’ll talk about those charged pions, π±.
2021-Oct-01 • 4 minutes
The Neutron
With a mass of 939.565 MeV, the neutron is the second lightest baryon - that is, a particle made up of three quarks. The neutron's quarks include one up and two downs, so it is total electric charge is zero. The neutron may be electrically neutral, but do
2021-Sep-30 • 3 minutes
The Proton
With a mass of 938.27 MeV, the proton is the lowest energy configuration of a trio of quarks. It has two up quarks and a down, but remember most of that mass is made up of subnuclear goo. You can find protons literally everywhere: from the nuclei of atoms
2021-Sep-29 • 4 minutes
The Up and Down Quarks
There are all kinds of quarks, but the two most relevant for everyday life are the up and the down quarks. The proton has two up quarks and one down quark. The neutron has two down quarks and and up quark. Don’t read too much into those names.
2021-Sep-28 • 5 minutes
The Neutrino
The tiny, neutral one - or neutrino - has caused a lot of consternation since its discovery. The plural of neutrino is neutrini.
2021-Sep-27 • 3 minutes
The Tau
The tau is a very heavy species of elementary particle that aren’t quite as common as the electron or the muon. Nevertheless, just as the muon shares many of the properties with the electron, so too does the tau.
2021-Sep-26 • 4 minutes
The Muon
Muons are a lesser known species of elementary particles that are extremely common, at least on Earth. They’re falling all around us, all the time. Muons are created by the collision of particles from outer space smashing into the molecules of the upper a
2021-Sep-25 • 2 minutes
The Electron
The electron is arguably the most famous of the elementary particles. They are the business end of the atom, and their dynamics give rise to virtually all of chemistry. They’re also the basic working particle of electricity, and their presence or absence
2021-Sep-24 • 4 minutes
The Photon
Light is made up of particles: quirky, counterintuitive particles, but particles nonetheless. This fact was a surprise, and is still difficult to internalize, because light is also made up of electromagnetic waves. We call particles of light photons. Phot
2021-Sep-23 • 5 minutes
The Electron Cloud
Atoms are modeled by a nucleus surrounded by an electron cloud. We’ve discussed the nucleus earlier; it’s the hard center of the atom. It’s really, really small, as small as a speck of dust in the middle of a baseball stadium. Despite that fact, the nucle
2021-Sep-22 • 4 minutes
The Atomic Nucleus
We are made of molecules, and molecules are made of atoms, and atoms are really, really small. Atoms are so small that its hard for our minds to comprehend it, but if you need a reference point take your height and divide it by a billion. Or maybe ten bil
2021-Sep-21 • 8 minutes
The Guide to the Field Guide to Particle Physics
The guide starts with a host of different particle species. We’ll talk about their masses, charges and interactions with other particles. We’ll talk about how they are created, how they decay, and what other particles they might be made of. Before we begi