Today I am beginning a long sequence of articles that will allow me to address some very basic and easily misunderstood concepts in physics: mass, energy, matter, force, and so on. Along the way I will be dealing with some of the questions that readers have been asking me, such as whether mass and energy are or are not fundamentally the same; why the neutron is stable inside many atomic nuclei even though it decays when it is on its own; why the proton has a mass which is larger than those of the quarks that it contains; etc. I’ve just completed the first link in this long chain, an article on the annihilation of particles with anti-particles. I’ve described some (not all!) of the rules that govern this process, which is one of the most important in all of particle physics. (You can also read a shorter and older article about anti-particles here.)
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