Which Particle Has the Least Mass?

February 15, 2024

A: Proton

Subatomic particles are the smallest part of an atom. There are three main subatomic particles that make up an atom: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are located in the nucleus of an atom, while electrons orbit around the nucleus.

In order to find out which particle has the least mass, scientists have to break down an atom into its smaller parts. They do this by using a particle accelerator to smash particles together. The resulting debris, or possible new fundamental particles, are then studied. Physicist Don Lincoln from Fermilab, near Chicago, is one of the scientists who have been working to answer this question. He and his team have discovered that the lightest physical particle has the least mass. This particle is called a photon and has almost zero rest mass, which means it can travel at the speed of light.

The next particle on the list has a slightly higher mass, but it is still very light. This is the neutron particle, which also has almost zero rest mass. However, the neutron particle has a lot more mass than the proton or the electron. It is also known as a neutrino, which has no charge and interacts with matter primarily through the weak nuclear force. Neutrinos are also associated with charged leptons, like electrons, muons and tau neutrons. They have a very small mass compared to other particles, and as a result, their effect on matter is hard to measure.


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