Sunday, May 03, 2009

Superpartner

Some theorists in the field of particle physics are studying the theory of supersymmetry (often abbreviated SUSY). In this theory, a superpartner particle is proposed to exist to be paired with each particle already known to exist (the Standard Model particle). Boson-type superpartners (with integer spins) corresponding to the Standard Model particles of fermion type (with half integer spins) are named by attaching "s" to the beginning of the names of the latter. For example, the superpartner of the electron is called selectron, the superpartner of the quark is called squark, and so on.

Last month I attended the lecture given by the particle theorist, Professor Tsuneo Uematsu of Kyoto University at the regular meeting of Science Cafe Kyoto. Uematsu wrote those names of particles and their superpertners on the whiteboard. Then he wrote his name "uematsu" as though it were the name of one of the Standard Model particles, and added the name of its superpartner "suematsu." Suematsu is a possible last name of the Japanese. Uematsu said, "I was surprised actually to see the particle theorist Dr. Suematsu at Kanazawa University." I liked this part of Uematsu's lecture most.

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