Quarks

Beaconator

Valued Senior Member
Are quarks the smallest particles because of their weight and size?

Are quarks the smallest particles because of their weight and size?
Small relates to size, right? So what else could it be?

Using mass as a criterion, electrons are smaller and neutrinos are a a lot smaller.

Are quarks the smallest particles because of their weight and size?
If your question boils down to: "Is the thing with the lowest mass the least massive?" then the answer is "Yes".
If your question boils down to: "Is the thing with the smallest volume the one with the least size?", the answer is also "Yes".

If your question boils down to: "Is the thing with the lowest mass the least massive?" then the answer is "Yes".
If your question boils down to: "Is the thing with the smallest volume the one with the least size?", the answer is also "Yes".

Actually there is… do you have the volume of every element? Stanford used to but they deleted it.

I really appreciate your use of volume.

so I’m guessing quarks are the most dense particles known.

Last edited:
Actually there is… do you have the volume of every element?
Depends on what you mean.

Atomic volume is defined as the volume of one mole (6.02214076 × 10^23 atoms) of a given element in a solid state.
It's not the volume of a single atom.

so I’m guessing quarks are the most dense particles known.
Apparently quarks are comprised of smaller particles called preons...

In chemistry lab, I used to make a "Bohr model" of the atom:
I took a large beaker (8 inches) and put a smaller beaker (4 inches) inside it and I put them on top of a magnetic stirrer. Then I put a large stir bar (2 inches) inside the smaller beaker and a smaller one (1 inch) in the space between the beakers. If I adjusted the stirrer speed just right, the large bar would rotate slowly and the smaller on would orbit around it while spinning.

Then I threw a cork in. When people asked what that represented I told them it was a quork.​

That's kinda cool.

Actually there is… do you have the volume of every element? Stanford used to but they deleted it.

I really appreciate your use of volume.

so I’m guessing quarks are the most dense particles known.
Atomic radii are widely available for every element, e.g. on this version of the Periodic Table: https://ptable.com/#Properties

However these can only be estimates of a kind of "effective" radius, made by averaging interatomic distances in a range of chemical structures containing the element. That is because the electron probability distribution does not have any fixed outer limit: it just peters out progressively with distance from the nucleus, once the various nodes in the wave function have been passed.

Small relates to size, right? So what else could it be?
I’m wondering more along the lines of say you have two particles that are the same size and different weight. Which one would be the smallest?

I’m wondering more along the lines of say you have two particles that are the same size and different weight. Which one would be the smallest?
You've just said they are the same size. How can one be "smallest"?

I’m wondering more along the lines of say you have two particles that are the same size and different weight.
"Size" and "density" don't seem to be relevant at the subatomic level.

"Size" and "density" don't seem to be relevant at the subatomic level.
Or perhaps nobody has devised a good way to measure that.

Elemental particles do not have a size, they are point particles. Since point particles do not have a size they do not have a volume so they have no density.
Elemental particle do have mass so if you are interested just look up the mass of elemental particles. The mass of a down quark is more than the mass of an electron which has a higher mass than a neutrino... yadda..

Elemental particles do not have a size, they are point particles. Since point particles do not have a size they do not have a volume so they have no density.
Elemental particle do have mass so if you are interested just look up the mass of elemental particles. The mass of a down quark is more than the mass of an electron which has a higher mass than a neutrino... yadda..
So which is smaller? A photon or the Higgs boson?

shouldn’t it be the Higgs because it is the smallest particle with mass? Smallest stationary particle maybe?

Last edited:
So which is smaller? A photon or the Higgs boson?
A photon is an EM wave so you could say it's 'size' is related to the wavelength. So there is some 'size' to a photon. Bosons are point particles so they do not have a measurable size, therefore a photon is bigger. The obvious problem is that we are applying classical definitions to quantum objects so these descriptions are not exactly right.
shouldn’t it be the Higgs because it is the smallest particle with mass?
No. The Higgs boson is not the smallest particle with mass as was just discussed in previous posts.
Smallest stationary particle maybe?
No. The Higgs boson is not the smallest particle with mass as was just discussed in previous posts.

A photon is an EM wave so you could say it's 'size' is related to the wavelength. So there is some 'size' to a photon. Bosons are point particles so they do not have a measurable size, therefore a photon is bigger. The obvious problem is that we are applying classical definitions to quantum objects so these descriptions are not exactly right.

No. The Higgs boson is not the smallest particle with mass as was just discussed in previous posts.

No. The Higgs boson is not the smallest particle with mass as was just discussed in previous posts.
I thought a photon was a boson

I thought a photon was a boson
A boson is any particle that has integer spin. Photons have spin 1, so they are bosons.

All particles have wave-like properties, as described by quantum physics. So, saying "a photon is an EM wave" is not quite right, in one sense, but completely correct in another.

A boson is any particle that has integer spin. Photons have spin 1, so they are bosons.

All particles have wave-like properties, as described by quantum physics. So, saying "a photon is an EM wave" is not quite right, in one sense, but completely correct in another.
Thanks for the clarification/correction.

A boson is any particle that has integer spin. Photons have spin 1, so they are bosons.

All particles have wave-like properties, as described by quantum physics. So, saying "a photon is an EM wave" is not quite right, in one sense, but completely correct in another.
So a captured photon in a hydrogen particle would have a distance of one as an ejected one could have been within the 1.01 to 1 distance

like bouncing a ball out of a canvass