It’s gradually becoming clear to me that this blogging thing is old hat. It’s a Web 4.0 world now, and we’re all just Tmblng through it. So, I need to get with modernity, and start posting the listicles that are the bread and butter of the new social media order. Thus, I give you a web-friendly list of The 15 Most Interesting Force-Carrying Bosons.
The 15 Most Interesting Force-Carrying Bosons
1) The Photon
(Image source: This Physics World article)
The photon is the carrier of the electromagnetic force. More importantly, it’s what we use to see with– this blog post is transmitted to you using photons passing through fiber-optic cables, and then displayed on a monitor screen and transmitted to your eyes by yet more photons passing through the intervening air. Unless you’re visually impaired, and having this read to you. Or you’re Cory Doctorow, having this post beamed into your visual cortex through a direct neural interface. But even then, there’s still the fiber-optic thing. So, photons are very cool, no matter what Rhett says.
2) The W+ Boson
The positively charged carrier of the weak nuclear force, the W boson is responsible for nuclear decays that convert quarks into leptons and neutrinos. Predicted in the late 1960’s, their discovery in the mid-1980’s cemented the success of the Standard Model of particle physics.
3) The Z0 Boson
The Z boson is the neutral carrier of the weak nuclear force, which was also predicted in the 60’s and detected in the 80’s. It’s responsible for elastic scattering of neutrinos, and does not involve changing particles from one type to another.
It’s always good to have a commercial link or two in a listicle, so here’s an image from the Particle Zoo’s collection of plush particles.
4) The W– Boson
The negatively charged carrier of the weak nuclear force. Really, pretty much the same thing as the W+ boson, only with the opposite charge. This is the point in the listicle where you begin to suspect that we’re short on content and just padding this out because nobody would click through to a listicle that only had four items, one for each of the fundamental forces.
5) The Graviton
The graviton is, as the name would suggest, the carrier of gravity. It’s neutral, with spin 2, and there is, as yet, no really good theory of quantum gravity, so the properties of gravitons remain somewhat indeterminate.
The image is from Wikipedia’s page for the comic villain Graviton, because it’s important to get some media content into a good listicle.
6) Ultraviolet Photons
It’s traditional to pad out a listicle by stretching one actual thing over at least two items, and photons are cool enough to deserve two spots. So, here’s a YouTube video of U2 playing one of my favorite songs, because videos are also an important component of a successful listicle.
Gluons are the carriers of the strong nuclear force, and come in eight different varieties carrying different combinations of color charge, depending on what they’re connecting. This is the point where we’re starting to lose interest in writing this listicle, and mash a bunch of stuff together into a single item. Also, it wouldn’t be a real listicle without an animated GIF.
(Image source: Part of the collection at the Disney Wiki entry for Mr. Smee)
He might technically be a mate, not a bosun, but I’ve never been real clear on those naval ranks from the age of sail. One thing is clear, though: Smee is the carrier of Captain Hook’s will. Whenever a scheme comes together, even for a moment, Smee is the one who made it work. Which leaves open the important question of just why he keeps hanging around with that one-handed nincompoop.
Also, this is the point in the listicle where we realize we counted the number of possible items wrong, but can’t go back to change the title, because we need to plow ahead and generate the next linkbait content for driving traffic to the site.
52 Cool Things About Einstein That Are Actually 26 Cool Things But Half of Them Are Split Over Three Items to Inflate the Count
37 Famous Scientists Talking Smack About Subjects Outside Their Field of Expertise
122 Inspirational Quotes About Physics Pasted Over Uncredited Images I Copied from Flickr
27 Facts About Nikola Tesla that Oh, God, Who Gives a Shit? Enough With Tesla, Already
(This started as a Twitter joke on a Saturday morning, but the 15 Force Carrying Bosons list idea lodged in my brain and wouldn’t go away. So you get this.)