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Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics, Second Edition by Alessandro Bettini

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2 Nucleons, leptons and mesons

Only a few elementary particles are stable: the electron, the proton, the neutrinos and the photon. Many more are unstable. The particles that decay by weak interactions live long enough to travel macroscopic distances between their production and decay points. Therefore, we can detect them by observing their tracks or measuring their time of flight. Distances range from a fraction of millimetre to several metres, depending on their lifetime and energy. In this chapter, we shall study the simplest properties of these particles and discuss the corresponding experimental discoveries. In the next chapter we shall present to the reader the symmetry properties of the interactions and the corresponding selection rules, ...

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