Particulate Matter Essay

894 Words 4 Pages
The Discovery and Motion of Particulate Matter
During the 1930s and 50s many scientist studied cosmic rays which were understood to originate from outer space. Many were able to observe that when the cosmic rays collided with atoms in our atmosphere, the nucleus of the atom was prised open by the energy created. This then revealed many short-lived particles within the nucleus. However, these could only be seen in tracks left behind in sensitive detectors. There were many particles found such as muon, which behaves like and electron and is 210 times heavier. There is also the pion which is a little smaller than the muon as well as the kaon, which is just over half the mass of a proton, and finally the lambda, which is 20% heavier
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He discovered what is called a positron, also known as an anti-electron. This is because it is as light as an electron but with a positive charge. This was soon explained by a theoretical physicist called Paul Dirac, from the University of Cambridge, who had been studying antimatter since 1928. Dirac set out to reconcile laws of quantum theory with Einstein’s theory of relativity. His calculations then lead him to understand that the calculations did only work for an electron with negative charge, but they would also work for one with positive charge. This was an unanticipated result. According to Dirac the positron is a particle with exactly opposite properties to an electron. His theory shows how an electron and a positron can emerge from pure energy, provided that there is sufficient energy to support the total mass of the two particles. When they collide the particle and antiparticle both disappear to leave just energy. This is an act of mutual destruction called annihilation. Further experiments have also proved protons, neutrons, muons and other particles to all have antiparticles. Dirac then began to speculate whether there was a mirror universe made of entirely antimatter. This was the first time ever that something never seen before in nature was “predicted” and this was led by theoretical ideas and human …show more content…
During this time physicists were now able to mimic cosmic rays in machines that could accelerate protons and electrons to high energies. This made them easier to study because they could be studied at controlled conditions. This machines came to be due to a small group of scientists in Cambridge and California to create the first artificially accelerated protons. This work in the 1930s lead to the development of the machines used in later experiments. These machines were then able to produce millions of protons, electrons, pions and kaons per second. With the aid of more developed detectors, to go with the machines, physicists now have the tools to study a large variety of particles in more

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