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Classifying collisions - number of charged tracks

If any beam particle does NOT continue parallel through the picture, it must have collided with a proton. (Very occasionally a beam particle may 'decay' - see glossary.)
The first quantity of interest is the number of charged particles coming from the collision. This is clearly 4.

ASIDE: Since we are studying the collisions of particles with protons, , the total charge of the initial state is always zero.

From charge conservation - one of the most important rules of particle physics – every collision must produce an equal number of positive and negative particles. (Every charged particle that leaves a track in a bubble chamber has a charge of +/- the charge of the electron.)

Let us check charge conservation for our collision. You will see that there are two positive tracks (curving to the left - active area A), one negative track (curving to the right, active area B) and one straight track that kinks suddenly, before travelling far enough to see which way it was curving (active area C)

Since the total final charge is zero, this kinking track must be negative.

For an excercise click here  

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