Bosons

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Quarks and leptons are particles that make up all matter in our universe. But then, how do these particles interact? Here, bosons come into play. Bosons are force-carrying particles, meaning that they are the particles that carry forces.


There are two types of bosons: gauge bosons and scalar bosons. All gauge bosons have a spin of 1, while all scalar bosons have a spin of 0.


Here is a list of all bosons humans currently know (or think they know) about:

  • Photons

  • W and Z bosons

  • Gluons

  • Higgs bosons

  • Gravitons (hypothetical)

Photons are gauge bosons, because they have a spin of 1. Photons are the baryons that carry the electromagnetic force, although there is a possibility that photons don't exist, and the electromagnetic force is carried by the electromagnetic wave. To put it simply, light is an electromagnetic wave / photon with frequencies that humans can see. The types of electromagnetic waves / photons are (from shortest to longest frequencies) gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwaves and radio waves.


W and Z bosons are gauge bosons, because they have a spin of 1. W and Z bosons carry the weak nuclear force, which is responsible for the radioactive decay of atoms. They also allow a quark to change its flavor, e.g. transformation of a down quark into an up quark.


Gluons are gauge bosons, because they have a spin of 1. Gluons are the particles that carry the strong nuclear force. The strong nuclear force is responsible for keeping matter together. For instance, it confines quarks into hadron particles such as the proton or the neutron.


The Higgs Boson is different from all other bosons because it is a scalar boson, which means it has a spin of 0. It is responsible for giving the gauge bosons their mass via the Higgs mechanism.


Finally, the graviton is a hypothetical particle, that is a gauge boson, responsible for carrying their force of gravity. It has never been observed, and due to the fact that it causes some breakdowns of physics when it is implemented into the standard model (a model in which particles are responsible for everything) which lead some scientists to think that they do not exist.


Sources:

  • "A Brief History of Time" by S. Hawking

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