From Symmetry: “A brief etymology of particle physics”

Symmetry Mag

Symmetry

05/30/17
Daniel Garisto

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Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

Over the years, physicists have given names to the smallest constituents of our universe.

This pantheon of particles has grown alongside progress in physics. Anointing a particle with a name is not just convenient; it marks a leap forward in our understanding of the world around us.

The etymology of particle physics contains a story that connects these sometimes outlandish names to a lineage of scientific thought and experiment.

So, without further ado, Symmetry presents a detailed guide to the etymology of particles—some we’ve found and others we have yet to discover.

Editor’s note: PIE, referenced throughout, refers to proto-Indo-European, one of the earliest known languages.

[NOTE: IN THE FULL ARTCLE THESE ARE ALL HOT LINKS. TOO MANY FOR ME, GO TO THE FULL ARTICLE FOR THE LINKS.]

Discovered particles
Expand all
ion ion
fermion Fermi + on
lepton leptos + on
electron electric + on
muon mu-meson (contraction)
tau triton
neutrino neutro (diminutive)
quark quark
boson Bose + on
photon photo + on
Higgs boson Higgs + boson
W boson weak + boson
Z boson zero + boson
gluon glue + on
hadron hadros + on
baryon barys + on
proton protos + on
neutron neutral + on
meson mesos + on
antimatter anti + matter

Hypothetical particles
Expand all
axion Axion
chameleon chameleon
graviton gravity + on
majoron Majorana + on
tachyon tachy + on
supersymmetric particles super + symmetry

See the full article here .

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Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


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