• Question: What is top-quark physics?

    Asked by anon-201342 to Sophia, Sarah, Meirin, George, Emily on 13 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Meirin Oan Evans

      Meirin Oan Evans answered on 13 Mar 2019:

      Top quarks are the heaviest fundamental particles we’ve found so far. By fundamental I mean that there’s nothing else inside, you can’t break it apart. Top quarks weigh about the same as a gold atom. Gold atoms are themselves made of 79 protons, 79 electrons and about 118 neutrons. Protons and neutrons themselves contain 3 quarks each (different quarks to top quarks though).
      What’s cool about the top quark is that we can study it “naked”. Since a top quark is so heavy, it doesn’t live very long, like a really fat cat. A top quark lives for such a short time that it doesn’t dress itself with other particles, or never covers itself up with other particles as clothes. The lifetime of a top quark is about 0.00000000000000000000000005s (25 zeroes!). If you blew this time up to 1 second, and blew up the 1 second by the same amount, the 1 second would be about 5 million times the age of the universe!

    • Photo: Sophia Pells

      Sophia Pells answered on 13 Mar 2019:

      I liked Meirin’s answer. Poor fat cats 🙁