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.

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45 Responses to What Particle Are You?

  1. Tasha says:

    Very cool!

  2. Bob says:

    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.

  3. AJKamper says:

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

  4. Sean Carroll says:

    Just think of yourself as matter, and all those other neutrinos as antimatter.

  5. Dilaton says:

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

    Nevertheless it is a nice and cool picture indeed 😀


  6. Joshua says:

    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.

  7. Maarten Inklaar says:

    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.

  8. DS4119268002 says:

    Forgive my ignorance if I’m missing something here, but where’s the electron?

  9. M. Chen says:

    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?

  10. Fred says:

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

  11. Sean Carroll says:

    Fred– gauge bosons are “connections” that relate other fields at different points in space, which can be rotated into each other by a symmetry. Yes, by itself that’s almost impossible to understand. I will be tackling the topic in the book, or see this intro on Wikipedia:


  12. jemand says:


    Stop fussing so much. You’re probably Majorana anyway.

  13. Garrett says:

    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!”

  14. Mario Enrique says:

    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!

  15. Scott M. says:

    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?

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  17. Sean Carroll says:

    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.

  18. Chris says:

    @12 jemand


  19. BGC says:

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

  20. Sam Gralla says:

    I must say that is a very entertaining chart. I love “ignore the haters”.

  21. Julien says:

    Sniff, I’m an exciton and nobody loves me. :-(

  22. jh says:

    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.

  23. Argos says:

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

  24. Gizelle Janine says:

    …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*