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Particle Zoo - On trail of Higgs, quarks, and photons. Special Exhibition at im Universum Bremen

Exhibition at Universum® Bremen

[Icon] light feather

How heavy do you feel?

[Icon] heavy weight
light as a feather normal super heavy

Like we humans, elementary particles don’t all weigh the same. The range is vast: The top quark weighs about 340 000 times as much as an electron. Neutrinos are even lighter than electrons. Some particles such as photons and gluons are even completely massless.

[Icon] minus

Are you rather pessimistic or optimistic?

[Icon] plus

Pessimistic people have a rather negative way of looking at life, optimistic people are more positive. Elementary particles have an electrical charge, which can be negative, neutral or positive. Particles with a single negative charge get -100 points, those with a single positive charge get +100 points. The rest is distributed in between.

[Icon] straight

Are you easily distracted?

[Icon] deflectable
Nothing throws me off track.   I’m game for any distraction.

If something is charged and light, it can be easily deflected.

[Icon] diamond

Do you have a fragile mind?

[Icon] bubble
No, nothing can break me. Yes!
Yes! I'm super sensitive.

Some elementary particles can be infinitely old; for others, a blink of an eye is already heavenly eternity.

[Icon] no chameleon

Do you change between different personalities?

[Icon] chameleon
No, there is only one me. Yes! In me slumber many souls..

There are three different types of neutrinos: electron, muon and tau neutrino. These can change into one another without any external intervention. The three neutrino types therefore get 100 points, the rest gets nothing.

[Icon] lonely guy

Are you a team player?

[Icon] team player
I'm a loner and prefer to be alone. I’m nothing without friends or family.

Quarks have never been observed individually. They always crop up in groups of two or three. The team player value of quarks is therefore 100, the one of the remaining particles is zero.

[Icon] guy on stage

Are you shy?

[Icon] wallflower
No, I like to be in the limelight! Yes, I am a shy wallflower.

People are more or less shy; the various particles have revealed themselves sooner or later. The electron has been known since 1897, the Higgs particle was only detected in 2012. The later a particle was detected, the more points it gets. The Higgs particle receives 75 points. Gravitons and WIMPs have not yet been sighted and get 100 points.

[Icon] Durchgestrichener Lautsprecher

Are you communicative?

[Icon] Sprechblase
I'm not much of a talker. Yes, I like to entertain.

In modern physics, forces between particles are described by the exchange of other particles—the interaction particles. Through these interaction particles, particles can virtually communicate: the interaction particles therefore get 100 points, the rest gets nothing. In the “Particle Zoo”, interaction particles can be recognized by their open mouths.

[Icon] vampire teeth

Do you like to look in the mirror?

[Icon] mirror
Mirrors are no use to me. Yes, I cannot refrain from using them

Processes involving the W and Z particles would proceed differently in a mirrored universe. This has long caused a stir because it was thought that this simply could not be. Therefore, 100 points for W-minus, W-plus and Z-zero.

[Icon] dream and moon

Are you living in a dream world?

[Icon] dream and sun
I dream at night at most. I like to delve into fantasy.

Except for the gravitons and WIMPs, all particles in our “Particle Zoo” have been detected. Maybe gravitons and WIMPs are just shy; maybe they will remain only fantasy. The two of them therefore get 100 points, the rest gets nothing.