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Name: Ty W.
Status:  student
Age: $6
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 5/5/2004


Question:
What is a muon?


Replies:
Ty W.

A muon is a particle very much like an electron. The biggest difference is that a muon is much heavier than an electron. Other than that, muons and electrons are essentially the same. In fact, a muon can become a much lighter electron. The change of mass becomes energy, released as neutrinos and photons of light. An electron can last forever. A muon will only last a few seconds before becoming an electron.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College


A muon is a lepton. There are three leptons (called electron, muon, and tau) which have identical properties and interactions, except that their masses are quite different.. For example, they all have the same built in angular momentum (spin) and magnetic moment. The muon has about 200 times the mass of the electron and the tau has a mass about 3500 times the mass of the electron. Because of their large masses and short lifetimes (the muon has a half life of about two millionths of a second), the muon and tau are very rare compared to the electron, though muons are produced quite often by cosmic ray interactions in the atmosphere.

If you would like more information, I would strongly recommend the web site
http://CPEPweb.com.

Best, Dick Plano, Professor of Physics emeritus, Rutgers University



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