A Caltech Library Service

Symbols for Fundamental Particles

Amaldi, E. and Anderson, C. D. and Blackett, P. M. S. and Fretter, W. B. and Leprince-Ringuet, L. and Peters, B. and Powell, C. F. and Rochester, G. D. and Rossi, B. and Thompson, R. W. (1954) Symbols for Fundamental Particles. Nature, 173 (4394). p. 123. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/173123a0.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


IN recent years we have witnessed startling developments in the field of fundamental particles. One of the consequences has been the appearance in the scientific literature of a new jargon and of a large number of new symbols. Some symbols (such as π, µ, τ) designate specific kinds of particles. Others (such as ρ, σ) have been used to describe merely a phenomenological behaviour. Various authors have called the same particle by different names or have attached different meanings to the same symbol. Sometimes the meaning of a symbol has changed through the years. To give an example, the Greek letter χ was used initially to describe a heavy meson which stops in the emulsion and afterwards decays, giving rise to a single ionizing particle. Later, the Latin letter K replaced the Greek letter χ as a code for the above phenomenological description, while the letter χ acquired a more definite physical meaning: that of a heavy meson which decays into one charged and two neutral particles. Sometimes, however, the letter K is also used to designate any charged particle, heavier than a π-meson and lighter than a proton, the mode of decay of which is unknown. As another example, the neutral particle of mass about 1,000 m e, which decays into two π-mesons, has been variously named v^0, V_2^0, V_4^0, whereas some authors have used the letter V_2^0 to designate any V^0-particle different from the so-called V_1^0.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1954 Nature Publishing Group.
Issue or Number:4394
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150811-123122633
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Symbols for Fundamental Particles E. AMALDI, C. D. ANDERSON, P. M. S. BLACKETT, W. B. FRETTER, L. LEPRINCE-RINGUET, B. PETERS, C. F. POWELL, G. D. ROCHESTER, B. ROSSI & R. W. THOMPSON Nature 173, 123 (16 January 1954); doi:10.1038/173123a0
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:59416
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:11 Aug 2015 20:42
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:20

Repository Staff Only: item control page