It seems like exciting times are ahead for theoretical physicists with the possible discovery of the Higgs boson. Perhaps you have ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Higgs or others like Einstein, Hawking, Green or Witten? Of course, the mathematics involved in the standard model of particle physics, which predicts the Higgs boson is very
tricky, and as for the mathematics involved in string and M theory.... (for a fascinating account of strings, visit whystringtheory.com)

Perhaps you hope in the future to make some wonderful discovery in mathematical physics? Or, perhaps you just want to understand more about the details of the way the universe works?

To assist you on your journeys we have collected together a selection of problems on NRICH related to the physics of fundamental particles. These involve a wide range of mathematical techniques and wonderful physical concepts. We hope that you enjoy them.

Perhaps you hope in the future to make some wonderful discovery in mathematical physics? Or, perhaps you just want to understand more about the details of the way the universe works?

To assist you on your journeys we have collected together a selection of problems on NRICH related to the physics of fundamental particles. These involve a wide range of mathematical techniques and wonderful physical concepts. We hope that you enjoy them.

problem

### The ultra particle

Explore the energy of this incredibly energetic particle which struck Earth on October 15th 1991

problem

### Big and small numbers in physics

Work out the numerical values for these physical quantities.

problem

### Striking gold

Investigate some of the issues raised by Geiger and Marsden's
famous scattering experiment in which they fired alpha particles at
a sheet of gold.

problem

Favourite

### Escape from planet Earth

How fast would you have to throw a ball upwards so that it would
never land?

problem

### Lennard Jones potential

Investigate why the Lennard-Jones potential gives a good
approximate explanation for the behaviour of atoms at close ranges

problem

### Cobalt decay

Investigate the effects of the half-lifes of the isotopes of cobalt
on the mass of a mystery lump of the element.

problem

### The real hydrogen atom

Dip your toe into the world of quantum mechanics by looking at the
Schrodinger equation for hydrogen atoms

problem

### Scientific curves

Can you sketch these difficult curves, which have uses in
mathematical modelling?

problem

### Earth orbit

Follow in the steps of Newton and find the path that the earth
follows around the sun.

problem

### Operating machines

What functions can you make using the function machines RECIPROCAL and PRODUCT and the operator machines DIFF and INT?