What Particle Are You?

A flowchart I put together for The Particle at the End of the Universe. Feel free to spread around, with appropriate attribution.

Sorry for the tiny writing, there are a lot of particles! Click to embiggen and get a legible version.

  1. I’m glad to see gravitons on the chart. I hope you will spend a few pages in the book explaining to us non-experts “Who needs them?” General Relativists don’t seem to need them because gravity is not a force, just the realization of spacetime curvature. Field Theorists seem to need them because gravity is a force, so a force carrying particle is needed.

  2. Shouldn’t it specify matter only, not antimatter? I ask because I’m an antineutrino, and gettin’ no love from the chart.

  3. Hey, that`s not fair I feel discriminated … 😛

    Nevertheless it is a nice and cool picture indeed 😀


  4. I’m a positron. I have to say that your -1 = my +1. That’s a little weird.

    Maybe if I switch the charges while holding the entire thing up to a mirror…. hmm…. But then, there’s that weird Kaon oscillation channel I can’t quite understand.

  5. Looks nice. Just one pet peeve to complain about, for me (and about 5% of your male readers) the green and red letters have the same color.

  6. >8
    It’s in the lower right, under charged leptons.

    +1 to this. I thought the Higgs field was the reason particles express mass, causing space-time curvature, which causes the phenomena we associate with gravity. Am I confused? Where does the graviton fit in?

  7. Sean, for “gauge boson” you wrote “you reflect a symmetry of nature”. What precisely did you mean by this? Thanks.

  8. Cute. For the starting bubble, maybe the question should be simplified to “How many particles are you made of?” since “smaller” is inaccurate for the singular case. For the neutron, would be fun to add “Enjoy your (approximately) fifteen minutes of fame!”

  9. My lord there is room for the antigraviton, just the one who prevents matter antimatter anihilations by means of a repulsive version of gravity. Look beyond please!

  10. Please excuse my ignorance, but why is the baryon described as “a kind of fermion”, but fermions are on the “one particle” branch, while baryons are on the “just a few particles” branch?

  11. Pingback: Ποιο σωματίδιο είστε; « physicsgg

  12. Scott– I labeled “fermions” those particles that are “elementary,” i.e. not made of other particles. But there are also fermions that are composite, e.g. baryons. Fermions are just particles that take up space. The confusion reflects the fact that the Standard Model isn’t really a flowchart.

    Igor– I don’t know that book, so I can’t say.

  13. In my geekiness, I read “Do you feel the strong force” as “Do you feel strong in the Force.”

  14. Glueballs are hypothetical at best? Come on. Just because they are hard to detect experimentally because of mixing with meson states hardly makes them “hypothetical at best.” There are likely
    candidates in the particle zoo and reasonable estimates of their masses in lattice QCD.

  15. “I never heard the word embiggen before moving to Springfield.”
    “Why not? It’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

  16. …So what do you have against atoms, Sean? Something you’d like to say? I like how you give us no choice, here. Be ashamed, we’re out to get you, now. *dramatic music*