Class #3 (Jan. 15) Reading Questions - The Particle Odyssey


Chapter 5


1.  Give the lifetime and decay modes of the pion and muon and identify at least two figures in chapter 5 where we see at least one of these decays.


2. The charged kaon has several different decay "modes" which led to some confusion when this particle was first discovered in cosmic rays.  List the three kaon decay modes mentioned in chapter 5 and identify figures in this chapter that show each of these particular modes.  Which of these three modes is the most distinctive (i.e., is easiest to pick out from a bubble chamber photograph)?


3. What was originally considered "strange" about the kaon and lambda particle?


4. Strange particles are often produced in collisions between high energy pions and atomic nuclei, (the hydrogen atom being the "cleanest" case to study since its nucleus is simply a proton).  Theorists suggested that in such an interaction a pair of strange particles must be produced.   What is the idea behind this suggested production in pairs and give four examples of such strange particle pair production in the photos in Chapt. 5.


Chapter 6


5. The motion of a charged particle is affected by both electric and magnetic fields.  Electric fields can be used to increase (or decrease) the speed of a charged particle while magnetic fields act to change the direction of motion of a charged particle.  Based on these ideas, explain how the cyclotron works.  Also explain why the cyclotron design fails for very high particle energies and how the syncro-cyclotron overcomes this problem.


6. What is Cerenkov radiation and what feature of this radiation was used in the experiment that first demonstrated the existence of an anti-proton.


7. Explain how a bubble chamber detector works.



Your Question:  Please give a well formulated question that you have regarding the material covered in this reading assignment.