Why scientists are interested in top quark physics
Short answer: top quark is tight with the Higgs boson
COLUMBUS, OHIO — According to Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul Sutter on Live Science, physicists are interested in studying the mysterious top quark, and it may have to do with its connection to the god particle.
According to CERN, quarks are subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter. There are six types: up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom.
Up and down quarks, which are the most common, and group together to form protons and neutrons. The quarks have fractional charges, which add up to become the positive proton and neutral neutron charges.
Charm and strange have a fleeting existence according to Symmetry Magazine, as they're unstable particles that easily decay into conventional particles.
The six quarks differ in size and weight, with up and down quarks being the lightest, followed by charm and strange, and then bottom quarks. Top quarks are the largest - about 100 trillion times heavier than up quarks.
This wide range in masses is believed to be due to the Higgs field. According to CERN, particles acquire a mass by interacting with this invisible field, whose visible manifestation is the Higgs boson particle. The more a particle interacts, the heavier it is.
Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider reveal that the Higgs boson interacts strongly with the top quark.
Physicists believe that by studying its coupling with top quarks, more can be learned about the properties of the Higgs boson. It might even lead to the discovery of heavy new-physics particles.
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