In particle physics, a baryon is a type of composite subatomic particle which contains an odd number of valence quarks (at least 3).[1] Baryons belong to the hadron family of particles, which are the quark-based particles. They are also classified as fermions, i.e., they have half-integer spin.

The name "baryon", introduced by Abraham Pais,[2] comes from the Greek word for "heavy" (βαρύς, barýs), because, at the time of their naming, most known elementary particles had lower masses than the baryons. Each baryon has a corresponding antiparticle (antibaryon) where their corresponding antiquarks replace quarks. For example, a proton is made of two up quarks and one down quark; and its corresponding antiparticle, the antiproton, is made of two up antiquarks and one down antiquark.

As quark-based particles, baryons participate in the strong interaction, which is mediated by particles known as gluons. The most familiar baryons are protons and neutrons, both of which contain three quarks, and for this reason these particles are sometimes described as triquarks. These particles make up most of the mass of the visible matter in the universe, as well as forming the components of the nucleus of every atom. Electrons (the other major component of the atom) are members of a different family of particles, known as leptons, which do not interact via the strong force. Exotic baryons containing five quarks (known as pentaquarks) have also been discovered and studied.


Baryons are strongly interacting fermions; that is, they are acted on by the strong nuclear force and are described by Fermi−Dirac statistics, which apply to all particles obeying the Pauli exclusion principle. This is in contrast to the bosons, which do not obey the exclusion principle.

Baryons, along with mesons, are hadrons, particles composed of quarks. Quarks have baryon numbers of B = 1/3 and antiquarks have baryon numbers of B = −1/3. The term "baryon" usually refers to triquarks—baryons made of three quarks (B = 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1).

Other exotic baryons have been proposed, such as pentaquarks—baryons made of four quarks and one antiquark (B = 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 − 1/3 = 1),[3][4] but their existence is not generally accepted. The particle physics community as a whole did not view their existence as likely in 2006,[5] and in 2008, considered evidence to be overwhelmingly against the existence of the reported pentaquarks.[6] However, in July 2015, the LHCb experiment observed two resonances consistent with pentaquark states in the Λ0
→ J/ψK
p decay, with a combined statistical significance of 15σ.[7][8]

In theory, heptaquarks (5 quarks, 2 antiquarks), nonaquarks (6 quarks, 3 antiquarks), etc. could also exist.

Baryonic matter

Nearly all matter that may be encountered or experienced in everyday life is baryonic matter, which includes atoms of any sort, and provides them with the property of mass. Non-baryonic matter, as implied by the name, is any sort of matter that is not composed primarily of baryons. This might include neutrinos and free electrons, dark matter, supersymmetric particles, axions, and black holes.

The very existence of baryons is also a significant issue in cosmology because it is assumed that the Big Bang produced a state with equal amounts of baryons and antibaryons. The process by which baryons came to outnumber their antiparticles is called baryogenesis.


Experiments are consistent with the number of quarks in the universe being a constant and, to be more specific, the number of baryons being a constant; in technical language, the total baryon number appears to be conserved. Within the prevailing Standard Model of particle physics, the number of baryons may change in multiples of three due to the action of sphalerons, although this is rare and has not been observed under experiment. Some grand unified theories of particle physics also predict that a single proton can decay, changing the baryon number by one; however, this has not yet been observed under experiment. The excess of baryons over antibaryons in the present universe is thought to be due to non-conservation of baryon number in the very early universe, though this is not well understood.


Isospin and charge

Combinations of three u, d or s quarks forming baryons with a spin-3/2 form the uds baryon decuplet
Combinations of three u, d or s quarks forming baryons with a spin-1/2 form the uds baryon octet

The concept of isospin was first proposed by Werner Heisenberg in 1932 to explain the similarities between protons and neutrons under the strong interaction.[9] Although they had different electric charges, their masses were so similar that physicists believed they were the same particle. The different electric charges were explained as being the result of some unknown excitation similar to spin. This unknown excitation was later dubbed isospin by Eugene Wigner in 1937.[10]

This belief lasted until Murray Gell-Mann proposed the quark model in 1964 (containing originally only the u, d, and s quarks).[11] The success of the isospin model is now understood to be the result of the similar masses of u and d quarks. Since u and d quarks have similar masses, particles made of the same number then also have similar masses. The exact specific u and d quark composition determines the charge, as u quarks carry charge +2/3 while d quarks carry charge −1/3. For example, the four Deltas all have different charges (
(ddd)), but have similar masses (~1,232 MeV/c2) as they are each made of a combination of three u and d quarks. Under the isospin model, they were considered to be a single particle in different charged states.

The mathematics of isospin was modeled after that of spin. Isospin projections varied in increments of 1 just like those of spin, and to each projection was associated a "charged state". Since the "Delta particle" had four "charged states", it was said to be of isospin I = 3/2. Its "charged states"
, and
, corresponded to the isospin projections I3 = +3/2, I3 = +1/2, I3 = −1/2, and I3 = −3/2, respectively. Another example is the "nucleon particle". As there were two nucleon "charged states", it was said to be of isospin 1/2. The positive nucleon
(proton) was identified with I3 = +1/2 and the neutral nucleon
(neutron) with I3 = −1/2.[12] It was later noted that the isospin projections were related to the up and down quark content of particles by the relation:

where the n's are the number of up and down quarks and antiquarks.

In the "isospin picture", the four Deltas and the two nucleons were thought to be the different states of two particles. However, in the quark model, Deltas are different states of nucleons (the N++ or N are forbidden by Pauli's exclusion principle). Isospin, although conveying an inaccurate picture of things, is still used to classify baryons, leading to unnatural and often confusing nomenclature.

Flavour quantum numbers

The strangeness flavour quantum number S (not to be confused with spin) was noticed to go up and down along with particle mass. The higher the mass, the lower the strangeness (the more s quarks). Particles could be described with isospin projections (related to charge) and strangeness (mass) (see the uds octet and decuplet figures on the right). As other quarks were discovered, new quantum numbers were made to have similar description of udc and udb octets and decuplets. Since only the u and d mass are similar, this description of particle mass and charge in terms of isospin and flavour quantum numbers works well only for octet and decuplet made of one u, one d, and one other quark, and breaks down for the other octets and decuplets (for example, ucb octet and decuplet). If the quarks all had the same mass, their behaviour would be called symmetric, as they would all behave in the same way to the strong interaction. Since quarks do not have the same mass, they do not interact in the same way (exactly like an electron placed in an electric field will accelerate more than a proton placed in the same field because of its lighter mass), and the symmetry is said to be broken.

It was noted that charge (Q) was related to the isospin projection (I3), the baryon number (B) and flavour quantum numbers (S, C, B′, T) by the Gell-Mann–Nishijima formula:[12]

where S, C, B′, and T represent the strangeness, charm, bottomness and topness flavour quantum numbers, respectively. They are related to the number of strange, charm, bottom, and top quarks and antiquark according to the relations:

meaning that the Gell-Mann–Nishijima formula is equivalent to the expression of charge in terms of quark content:

Spin, orbital angular momentum, and total angular momentum

Spin (quantum number S) is a vector quantity that represents the "intrinsic" angular momentum of a particle. It comes in increments of 1/2 ħ (pronounced "h-bar"). The ħ is often dropped because it is the "fundamental" unit of spin, and it is implied that "spin 1" means "spin 1 ħ". In some systems of natural units, ħ is chosen to be 1, and therefore does not appear anywhere.

Quarks are fermionic particles of spin 1/2 (S = 1/2). Because spin projections vary in increments of 1 (that is 1 ħ), a single quark has a spin vector of length 1/2, and has two spin projections (Sz = +1/2 and Sz = −1/2). Two quarks can have their spins aligned, in which case the two spin vectors add to make a vector of length S = 1 and three spin projections (Sz = +1, Sz = 0, and Sz = −1). If two quarks have unaligned spins, the spin vectors add up to make a vector of length S = 0 and has only one spin projection (Sz = 0), etc. Since baryons are made of three quarks, their spin vectors can add to make a vector of length S = 3/2, which has four spin projections (Sz = +3/2, Sz = +1/2, Sz = −1/2, and Sz = −3/2), or a vector of length S = 1/2 with two spin projections (Sz = +1/2, and Sz = −1/2).[13]

There is another quantity of angular momentum, called the orbital angular momentum (azimuthal quantum number L), that comes in increments of 1 ħ, which represent the angular moment due to quarks orbiting around each other. The total angular momentum (total angular momentum quantum number J) of a particle is therefore the combination of intrinsic angular momentum (spin) and orbital angular momentum. It can take any value from J = |LS| to J = |L + S|, in increments of 1.

Baryon angular momentum quantum numbers for L = 0, 1, 2, 3
Spin (S) Orbital angular momentum (L) Total angular momentum (J) Parity (P)
(See below)
Condensed notation (JP)
1/2 0 1/2 + 1/2+
1 3/2, 1/2 3/2, 1/2
2 5/2, 3/2 + 5/2+, 3/2+
3 7/2, 5/2 7/2, 5/2
3/2 0 3/2 + 3/2+
1 5/2, 3/2, 1/2 5/2, 3/2, 1/2
2 7/2, 5/2, 3/2, 1/2 + 7/2+, 5/2+, 3/2+, 1/2+
3 9/2, 7/2, 5/2, 3/2 9/2, 7/2, 5/2, 3/2

Particle physicists are most interested in baryons with no orbital angular momentum (L = 0), as they correspond to ground states—states of minimal energy. Therefore, the two groups of baryons most studied are the S = 1/2; L = 0 and S = 3/2; L = 0, which corresponds to J = 1/2+ and J = 3/2+, respectively, although they are not the only ones. It is also possible to obtain J = 3/2+ particles from S = 1/2 and L = 2, as well as S = 3/2 and L = 2. This phenomenon of having multiple particles in the same total angular momentum configuration is called degeneracy. How to distinguish between these degenerate baryons is an active area of research in baryon spectroscopy.[14][15]


If the universe were reflected in a mirror, most of the laws of physics would be identical—things would behave the same way regardless of what we call "left" and what we call "right". This concept of mirror reflection is called "intrinsic parity" or simply "parity" (P). Gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the strong interaction all behave in the same way regardless of whether or not the universe is reflected in a mirror, and thus are said to conserve parity (P-symmetry). However, the weak interaction does distinguish "left" from "right", a phenomenon called parity violation (P-violation).

Based on this, if the wavefunction for each particle (in more precise terms, the quantum field for each particle type) were simultaneously mirror-reversed, then the new set of wavefunctions would perfectly satisfy the laws of physics (apart from the weak interaction). It turns out that this is not quite true: for the equations to be satisfied, the wavefunctions of certain types of particles have to be multiplied by −1, in addition to being mirror-reversed. Such particle types are said to have negative or odd parity (P = −1, or alternatively P = –), while the other particles are said to have positive or even parity (P = +1, or alternatively P = +).

For baryons, the parity is related to the orbital angular momentum by the relation:[16]

As a consequence, baryons with no orbital angular momentum (L = 0) all have even parity (P = +).


Baryons are classified into groups according to their isospin (I) values and quark (q) content. There are six groups of baryons—nucleon (
), Delta (
), Lambda (
), Sigma (
), Xi (
), and Omega (
). The rules for classification are defined by the Particle Data Group. These rules consider the up (
), down (
) and strange (
) quarks to be light and the charm (
), bottom (
), and top (
) quarks to be heavy. The rules cover all the particles that can be made from three of each of the six quarks, even though baryons made of top quarks are not expected to exist because of the top quark's short lifetime. The rules do not cover pentaquarks.[17]

  • Baryons with three
    quarks are
    's (I = 1/2) or
    's (I = 3/2).
  • Baryons with two
    quarks are
    's (I = 0) or
    's (I = 1). If the third quark is heavy, its identity is given by a subscript.
  • Baryons with one
    quark are
    's (I = 1/2). One or two subscripts are used if one or both of the remaining quarks are heavy.
  • Baryons with no
    quarks are
    's (I = 0), and subscripts indicate any heavy quark content.
  • Baryons that decay strongly have their masses as part of their names. For example, Σ0 does not decay strongly, but Δ++(1232) does.

It is also a widespread (but not universal) practice to follow some additional rules when distinguishing between some states that would otherwise have the same symbol.[12]

  • Baryons in total angular momentum J = 3/2 configuration that have the same symbols as their J = 1/2 counterparts are denoted by an asterisk ( * ).
  • Two baryons can be made of three different quarks in J = 1/2 configuration. In this case, a prime ( ′ ) is used to distinguish between them.
    • Exception: When two of the three quarks are one up and one down quark, one baryon is dubbed Λ while the other is dubbed Σ.

Quarks carry a charge, so knowing the charge of a particle indirectly gives the quark content. For example, the rules above say that a
contains a c quark and some combination of two u and/or d quarks. The c quark has a charge of (Q = +2/3), therefore the other two must be a u quark (Q = +2/3), and a d quark (Q = −1/3) to have the correct total charge (Q = +1).

See also


  1. ^ Gell-Mann, M. (1964). "A schematic model of baryons and mesons". Physics Letters. 8 (3): 214–215. Bibcode:1964PhL.....8..214G. doi:10.1016/S0031-9163(64)92001-3.
  2. ^ Nakano, Tadao; Nishijima, Kazuhiko (November 1953). "Charge Independence for V-particles". Progress of Theoretical Physics. 10 (5): 581. doi:10.1143/PTP.10.581. The 'baryon' is the collective name for the members of the nucleon family. This name is due to Pais. See ref. (6).
  3. ^ H. Muir (2003)
  4. ^ K. Carter (2003)
  5. ^ W.-M. Yao et al. (2006): Particle listings – Θ+
  6. ^ C. Amsler et al. (2008): Pentaquarks
  7. ^ LHCb (14 July 2015). "Observation of particles composed of five quarks, pentaquark-charmonium states, seen in Λ0
    → J/ψpK decays"
    . CERN. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  8. ^ R. Aaij et al. (LHCb collaboration) (2015). "Observation of J/ψp resonances consistent with pentaquark states in Λ0
    p decays". Physical Review Letters. 115 (7): 072001. arXiv:1507.03414. Bibcode:2015PhRvL.115g2001A. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.072001.
  9. ^ W. Heisenberg (1932)
  10. ^ E. Wigner (1937)
  11. ^ M. Gell-Mann (1964)
  12. ^ a b c S.S.M. Wong (1998a)
  13. ^ R. Shankar (1994)
  14. ^ H. Garcilazo et al. (2007)
  15. ^ D.M. Manley (2005)
  16. ^ S.S.M. Wong (1998b)
  17. ^ C. Amsler et al. (2008): Naming scheme for hadrons


External links


The antineutron is the antiparticle of the neutron with symbol n. It differs from the neutron only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign. It has the same mass as the neutron, and no net electric charge, but has opposite baryon number (+1 for neutron, −1 for the antineutron). This is because the antineutron is composed of antiquarks, while neutrons are composed of quarks. The antineutron consists of one up antiquark and two down antiquarks.

Since the antineutron is electrically neutral, it cannot easily be observed directly. Instead, the products of its annihilation with ordinary matter are observed. In theory, a free antineutron should decay into an antiproton, a positron and a neutrino in a process analogous to the beta decay of free neutrons. There are theoretical proposals of neutron–antineutron oscillations, a process that implies the violation of the baryon number conservation.The antineutron was discovered in proton–antiproton collisions at the Bevatron (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) by Bruce Cork in 1956, one year after the antiproton was discovered.


In physical cosmology, baryogenesis is the hypothetical physical process that took place during the early universe that produced baryonic asymmetry, i.e. the imbalance of matter (baryons) and antimatter (antibaryons) in the observed universe.

One of the outstanding problems in modern physics is the predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe. The universe, as a whole, seems to have a nonzero positive baryon number density – that is, matter exists. Since it is assumed in cosmology that the particles we see were created using the same physics we measure today, it would normally be expected that the overall baryon number should be zero, as matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts. This has led to a number of proposed mechanisms for symmetry breaking that favour the creation of normal matter (as opposed to antimatter) under certain conditions. This imbalance would have been exceptionally small, on the order of 1 in every 10000000000 (1010) particles a small fraction of a second after the Big Bang, but after most of the matter and antimatter annihilated, what was left over was all the baryonic matter in the current universe, along with a much greater number of bosons. Experiments reported in 2010 at Fermilab, however, seem to show that this imbalance is much greater than previously assumed. In an experiment involving a series of particle collisions, the amount of generated matter was approximately 1% larger than the amount of generated antimatter. The reason for this discrepancy is yet unknown.Most grand unified theories explicitly break the baryon number symmetry, which would account for this discrepancy, typically invoking reactions mediated by very massive X bosons (X) or massive Higgs bosons (H0). The rate at which these events occur is governed largely by the mass of the intermediate X or H0 particles, so by assuming these reactions are responsible for the majority of the baryon number seen today, a maximum mass can be calculated above which the rate would be too slow to explain the presence of matter today. These estimates predict that a large volume of material will occasionally exhibit a spontaneous proton decay.

Baryogenesis theories are based on different descriptions of the interaction between fundamental particles. Two main theories are electroweak baryogenesis (standard model), which would occur during the electroweak epoch, and the GUT baryogenesis, which would occur during or shortly after the grand unification epoch. Quantum field theory and statistical physics are used to describe such possible mechanisms.

Baryogenesis is followed by primordial nucleosynthesis, when atomic nuclei began to form.

Baryon acoustic oscillations

In cosmology, baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) are fluctuations in the density of the visible baryonic matter (normal matter) of the universe, caused by acoustic density waves in the primordial plasma of the early universe. In the same way that supernovae provide a "standard candle" for astronomical observations, BAO matter clustering provides a "standard ruler" for length scale in cosmology.

The length of this standard ruler is given by the maximum distance the acoustic waves could travel in the primordial plasma before the plasma cooled to the point where it became neutral atoms (the epoch of recombination), which stopped the expansion of the plasma density waves, "freezing" them into place. The length of this standard ruler (≈490 million light years in today's universe) can be measured by looking at the large scale structure of matter using astronomical surveys. BAO measurements help cosmologists understand more about the nature of dark energy (which causes the acceleration of the expansion of the universe) by constraining cosmological parameters.

Baryon asymmetry

In physics, the baryon asymmetry problem, also known as the matter asymmetry problem or the matter-antimatter asymmetry problem, is the observed imbalance in baryonic matter (the type of matter experienced in everyday life) and antibaryonic matter in the observable universe. Neither the standard model of particle physics, nor the theory of general relativity provides a known explanation for why this should be so, and it is a natural assumption that the universe be neutral with all conserved charges. The Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Since this does not seem to have been the case, it is likely some physical laws must have acted differently or did not exist for matter and antimatter.

Several competing hypotheses exist to explain the imbalance of matter and antimatter that resulted in baryogenesis. However, there is as of yet no consensus theory to explain the phenomenon. As remarked in a 2012 research paper, "The origin of matter remains one of the great mysteries in physics."

Baryon number

In particle physics, the baryon number is a strictly conserved additive quantum number of a system. It is defined as

where nq is the number of quarks, and nq is the number of antiquarks. Baryons (three quarks) have a baryon number of +1, mesons (one quark, one antiquark) have a baryon number of 0, and antibaryons (three antiquarks) have a baryon number of −1. Exotic hadrons like pentaquarks (four quarks, one antiquark) and tetraquarks (two quarks, two antiquarks) are also classified as baryons and mesons depending on their baryon number.

Delta baryon

The Delta baryons (or Δ baryons, also called Delta resonances) are a family of subatomic particle made of three up or down quarks (u or d quarks).

Four closely related Δ baryons exist: Δ++ (constituent quarks: uuu), Template:Subatomic Partical (uud), Δ0 (udd), and Δ− (ddd), which respectively carry an electric charge of +2 e, +1 e, 0 e, and −1 e. The Δ baryons have a mass of about 1232 MeV/c2, a spin of ​3⁄2, and an isospin of ​3⁄2. Ordinary protons and neutrons (nucleons (symbol N)), by contrast, have a mass of about 939 MeV/c2, a spin of ​1⁄2, and an isospin of ​1⁄2. The Δ+ (uud) and Δ0 (udd) particles are the higher-mass excitations of the proton (N+, uud) and neutron (N0, udd), respectively. However, the Δ++ and Δ− have no direct nucleon analogues.

The states were established experimentally at the University of Chicago cyclotron and the Carnegie Institute of Technology synchro-cyclotron in the mid-1950s using accelerated positive pions on hydrogen targets. The existence of the Δ++, with its unusual +2 charge, was a crucial clue in the development of the quark model.

The Delta states discussed here are only the lowest-mass quantum excitations of the proton and neutron. At higher masses, additional Delta states appear, all defined by having ​3⁄2 units of isospin, but with a spin quantum numbers including ​1⁄2, ​3⁄2, ​5⁄2, ... ​11⁄2. A complete listing of all properties of all these states can be found in Beringer et al (2013).There also exist antiparticle Delta states with opposite charges, made up of the corresponding antiquarks.


In particle physics, a diquark, or diquark correlation/clustering, is a hypothetical state of two quarks grouped inside a baryon (that consists of three quarks) (Lichtenberg 1982). Corresponding models of baryons are referred to as quark–diquark models. The diquark is often treated as a single subatomic particle with which the third quark interacts via the strong interaction. The existence of diquarks inside the nucleons is a disputed issue, but it helps to explain some nucleon properties and to reproduce experimental data sensitive to the nucleon structure. Diquark–antidiquark pairs have also been advanced for anomalous particles such as the X(3872).

Eightfold way (physics)

In physics, the eightfold way is an organizional scheme for a class of subatomic particles known as hadrons that led to the development of the quark model. American physicist Murray Gell-Mann and Israeli physicist Yuval Ne'eman both proposed the idea in 1961. The name comes from Gell-Mann's 1961 paper and is an allusion to the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

Lambda baryon

The Lambda baryons are a family of subatomic hadron particles containing one up quark, one down quark, and a third quark from a higher flavour generation, in a combination where the quantum wave function changes sign upon the flavour of any two quarks being swapped (thus differing from a Sigma baryon). They are thus baryons, with total isospin of 0, and have either neutral electric charge or the elementary charge +1.

Lambda baryons are usually represented by the symbols Λ0, Λ+c, Λ0b, and Λ+t. In this notation, the superscript character indicates whether the particle is electrically neutral (0) or carries a positive charge (+). The subscript character, or its absence, indicates whether the third quark is a strange quark (Λ0) (no subscript), a charm quark (Λ+c), a bottom quark (Λ0b), or a top quark (Λ+t). Physicists do not expect to observe a Lambda baryon with a top quark because the Standard Model of particle physics predicts that the mean lifetime of top quarks is roughly 5×10−25 seconds; that is about 1/20 of the mean timescale for strong interactions, which indicates that the top quark would decay before a Lambda baryon could form a hadron.

List of baryons

Baryons are composite particles made of three quarks, as opposed to mesons, which are composite particles made of one quark and one antiquark. Baryons and mesons are both hadrons, which are particles composed solely of quarks or both quarks and antiquarks. The term baryon is derived from the Greek "βαρύς" (barys), meaning "heavy", because, at the time of their naming, it was believed that baryons were characterized by having greater masses than other particles that were classed as matter.

Until a few years ago, it was believed that some experiments showed the existence of pentaquarks – baryons made of four quarks and one antiquark. The particle physics community as a whole did not view their existence as likely by 2006. On 13 July 2015, the LHCb collaboration at CERN reported results consistent with pentaquark states in the decay of bottom Lambda baryons (Λ0b).Since baryons are composed of quarks, they participate in the strong interaction. Leptons, on the other hand, are not composed of quarks and as such do not participate in the strong interaction. The most famous baryons are the protons and neutrons that make up most of the mass of the visible matter in the universe, whereas electrons, the other major component of atoms, are leptons. Each baryon has a corresponding antiparticle known as an antibaryon in which quarks are replaced by their corresponding antiquarks. For example, a proton is made of two up quarks and one down quark, while its corresponding antiparticle, the antiproton, is made of two up antiquarks and one down antiquark.

Omega baryon

The omega baryons are a family of subatomic hadron (a baryon) particles that are represented by the symbol Ω and are either neutral or have a +2, +1 or −1 elementary charge. They are baryons containing no up or down quarks. Omega baryons containing top quarks are not expected to be observed. This is because the Standard Model predicts the mean lifetime of top quarks to be roughly 5×10−25 s, which is about a twentieth of the timescale for strong interactions, and therefore that they do not form hadrons.

The first omega baryon discovered was the Ω−, made of three strange quarks, in 1964. The discovery was a great triumph in the study of quark processes, since it was found only after its existence, mass, and decay products had been predicted in 1961 by the American physicist Murray Gell-Mann and, independently, by the Israeli physicist Yuval Ne'eman. Besides the Ω−, a charmed omega particle (Ω0c) was discovered, in which a strange quark is replaced by a charm quark. The Ω− decays only via the weak interaction and has therefore a relatively long lifetime. Spin (J) and parity (P) values for unobserved baryons are predicted by the quark model.Since omega baryons do not have any up or down quarks, they all have isospin 0.


A pentaquark is a subatomic particle consisting of four quarks and one antiquark bound together.

As quarks have a baryon number of +1/3, and antiquarks of −1/3, the pentaquark would have a total baryon number of 1, and thus would be a baryon. Further, because it has five quarks instead of the usual three found in regular baryons (a.k.a. 'triquarks'), it would be classified as an exotic baryon. The name pentaquark was coined by Claude Gignoux et al. and Harry J. Lipkin in 1987; however, the possibility of five-quark particles was identified as early as 1964 when Murray Gell-Mann first postulated the existence of quarks. Although predicted for decades, pentaquarks proved surprisingly difficult to discover and some physicists were beginning to suspect that an unknown law of nature prevented their production.The first claim of pentaquark discovery was recorded at LEPS in Japan in 2003, and several experiments in the mid-2000s also reported discoveries of other pentaquark states. Others were not able to replicate the LEPS results, however, and the other pentaquark discoveries were not accepted because of poor data and statistical analysis. On 13 July 2015, the LHCb collaboration at CERN reported results consistent with pentaquark states in the decay of bottom Lambda baryons (Λ0b).Outside particle physics laboratories, pentaquarks also could be produced naturally by supernovae as part of the process of forming a neutron star. The scientific study of pentaquarks might offer insights into how these stars form, as well as allowing more thorough study of particle interactions and the strong force.

Proton decay

In particle physics, proton decay is a hypothetical form of particle decay in which the proton decays into lighter subatomic particles, such as a neutral pion and a positron. The proton decay hypothesis was first formulated by Andrei Sakharov in 1967. Despite significant experimental effort, proton decay has never been observed. If it does decay via a positron, the proton's half-life is constrained to be at least 1.67×1034 years.According to the Standard Model, protons, a type of baryon, are stable because baryon number (quark number) is conserved (under normal circumstances; see chiral anomaly for exception). Therefore, protons will not decay into other particles on their own, because they are the lightest (and therefore least energetic) baryon. Positron emission – a form of radioactive decay which sees a proton become a neutron – is not proton decay, since the proton interacts with other particles within the atom.

Some beyond-the-Standard Model grand unified theories (GUTs) explicitly break the baryon number symmetry, allowing protons to decay via the Higgs particle, magnetic monopoles, or new X bosons with a half-life of 1031 to 1036 years. To date, all attempts to observe new phenomena predicted by GUTs (like proton decay or the existence of magnetic monopoles) have failed.

Quantum gravity (via virtual black holes and Hawking radiation) may also provide a venue of proton decay at magnitudes or lifetimes well beyond the GUT scale decay range above, as well as extra dimensions in supersymmetry.

There are theoretical methods of baryon violation other than proton decay including interactions with changes of baryon and/or lepton number other than 1 (as required in proton decay). These included B and/or L violations of 2, 3, or other numbers, or B − L violation. Such examples include neutron oscillations and the electroweak sphaleron anomaly at high energies and temperatures that can result between the collision of protons into antileptons or vice versa (a key factor in leptogenesis and non-GUT baryogenesis).

Quark model

In particle physics, the quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons in terms of their valence quarks—the quarks and antiquarks which give rise to the quantum numbers of the hadrons. The quark model underlies "flavor SU(3)", or the Eightfold Way, the successful classification scheme organizing the large number of lighter hadrons that were being discovered starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1960s. It received experimental verification beginning in the late 1960s and is a valid effective classification of them to date. The model was independently proposed by physicists Murray Gell-Mann, who dubbed them "quarks" in a concise paper, and George Zweig, who suggested "aces" in a longer manuscript. André Petermann also touched upon the central ideas from 1963 to 1965, without as much quantitative substantiation. Today, the model has essentially been absorbed as a component of the established quantum field theory of strong and electroweak particle interactions, dubbed the Standard Model.

Hadrons are not really "elementary", and can be regarded as bound states of their "valence quarks" and antiquarks, which give rise to the quantum numbers of the hadrons. These quantum numbers are labels identifying the hadrons, and are of two kinds. One set comes from the Poincaré symmetry—JPC, where J, P and C stand for the total angular momentum, P-symmetry, and C-symmetry, respectively.

The remaining are flavor quantum numbers such as the isospin, strangeness, charm, and so on. The strong interactions binding the quarks together are insensitive to these quantum numbers, so variation of them leads to systematic mass and coupling relationships among the hadrons in the same flavor multiplet.

All quarks are assigned a baryon number of ⅓. Up, charm and top quarks have an electric charge of +⅔, while the down, strange, and bottom quarks have an electric charge of −⅓. Antiquarks have the opposite quantum numbers. Quarks are spin-½ particles, and thus fermions. Each quark or antiquark obeys the Gell-Mann−Nishijima formula individually, so any additive assembly of them will as well.

Mesons are made of a valence quark−antiquark pair (thus have a baryon number of 0), while baryons are made of three quarks (thus have a baryon number of 1). This article discusses the quark model for the up, down, and strange flavors of quark (which form an approximate flavor SU(3) symmetry). There are generalizations to larger number of flavors.

Sigma baryon

The Sigma baryons are a family of subatomic hadron particles which have two quarks from the first flavour generation (up and/or down quarks), and a third quark from higher flavour generations, in a combination where the wavefunction does not swap sign when any two quark flavours are swapped. They are thus baryons, with total Isospin of 1, and can either be neutral or have an elementary charge of +2, +1, 0, or −1. They are closely related to the Lambda baryons, which differ only in the wavefunction's behaviour upon flavour exchange.

The third quark can hence be either a strange (symbols Σ+, Σ0, Σ−), a charm (symbols Σ++c, Σ+c, Σ0c), a bottom (symbols Σ+b, Σ0b, Σ−b) or a top (symbols Σ++t, Σ+t, Σ0t) quark. However, the top Sigmas are not expected to be observed as the Standard Model predicts the mean lifetime of top quarks to be roughly 5×10−25 s. This is about 20 times shorter than the timescale for strong interactions, and therefore it does not form hadrons.

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey or SDSS is a major multi-spectral imaging and spectroscopic redshift survey using a dedicated 2.5-m wide-angle optical telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, United States. The project was named after the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which contributed significant funding.

Data collection began in 2000; the final imaging data release (DR9) covers over 35% of the sky, with photometric observations of around nearly 1 billion objects, while the survey continues to acquire spectra, having so far taken spectra of over 4 million objects. The main galaxy sample has a median redshift of z = 0.1; there are redshifts for luminous red galaxies as far as z = 0.7, and for quasars as far as z = 5; and the imaging survey has been involved in the detection of quasars beyond a redshift z = 6.

Data release 8 (DR8), released in January 2011, includes all photometric observations taken with the SDSS imaging camera, covering 14,555 square degrees on the sky (just over 35% of the full sky). Data release 9 (DR9), released to the public on 31 July 2012, includes the first results from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) spectrograph, including over 800,000 new spectra. Over 500,000 of the new spectra are of objects in the Universe 7 billion years ago (roughly half the age of the universe). Data release 10 (DR10), released to the public on 31 July 2013, includes all data from previous releases, plus the first results from the APO Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) spectrograph, including over 57,000 high-resolution infrared spectra of stars in the Milky Way. DR10 also includes over 670,000 new BOSS spectra of galaxies and quasars in the distant universe. The publicly available images from the survey were made between 1998 and 2009.

Starship Mine

"Starship Mine" is the 144th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 18th episode of the sixth season. The episode features Tim Russ in a minor role, before he played the role of Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager.

While the starship Enterprise is evacuated for maintenance, Captain Picard must, alone, contend with thieves posing as a work crew aboard ship.

Weak hypercharge

In the Standard Model of electroweak interactions of particle physics, the weak hypercharge is a quantum number relating the electric charge and the third component of weak isospin. It is frequently denoted YW and corresponds to the gauge symmetry U(1).It is conserved (only terms that are overall weak-hypercharge neutral are allowed in the Lagrangian). However, one of the interactions is with the Higgs field. Since the Higgs field vacuum expectation value is nonzero, particles interact with this field all the time even in vacuum. This changes their weak hypercharge (and weak isospin T3). Only a specific combination of them, Q = T3 + 1/2 YW (electric charge), is conserved.

Mathematically, weak hypercharge appears similar to the Gell-Mann–Nishijima formula for the hypercharge of strong interactions (which is not conserved in weak interactions) and which does not apply to leptons.

Xi baryon

The Xi baryons or cascade particles are a family of subatomic hadron particles which have the symbol Ξ and may have an electric charge (Q) of +2 e, +1 e, 0, or −1 e, where e is the elementary charge. Like all conventional baryons, they contain three quarks. Xi baryons, in particular, contain one up or down quark plus two more massive quarks: either strange, charm or bottom. They are historically called the cascade particles because of their unstable state; they decay rapidly into lighter particles through a chain of decays. The first discovery of a charged Xi baryon was in cosmic ray experiments by the Manchester group in 1952. The first discovery of the neutral Xi particle was at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1959. It was also observed as a daughter product from the decay of the omega baryon (Ω−) observed at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1964. The Xi spectrum is important to nonperturbative quantum chromodynamics (QCD), such as Lattice QCD.

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