Truth and beauty

Back in the day, when particle physicists were creating the list of subatomic particles and putting together what’s known as the Standard Model, they named the six types (“flavors”) of quarks as follows:


I always thought those last two were particularly poetic, but unfortunately over time truth and beauty became known as top and bottom. A few years ago there was quite a bit of excitement when the top quark– the most massive one, and thus the most elusive to create in a particle accelerator– was “found”. It would have been fun to read about how “truth had been found” instead.

Anyway, I still like to refer to them as truth and beauty, just as I continue to refer to Pluto as a planet. This evening I was reading an article about the discovery of a couple of new elementary particles (Xi_b and Xi_b*) at the Large Hadron Collider. To my delight, the article I was reading mentioned that the particles are comprised of three quarks: strange, down, and beauty. Aha!

It’s good to know truth and beauty are alive and well.