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Renaming Particles

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Naming after Names*

Our current system:

The Higgs boson is named for Peter Higgs, one of the theorists who predicted its existence. That's not fair to the other people / groups who predicted / discovered fundamental particles but didn't get it named after any of them. (While we're at it we will make the name endings match within a particle class.)

I propose the following changes:

CHARGED LEPTONS (end in "on"):

1) electron: Thompson (after J.J. Thompson). It already sounds like a particle!

2) muon: Anderson (after Carl Anderson). 2/2 so far for perfect names!

3) tau: Perlion (after Martin Perl).

NEUTRAL LEPTONS (end in "ino"):

4) electron neutrino: Paulino (after Wolfgang Pauli). Why do students always get it mixed up with the Perlion??

5) muon neutrino: Ledermino (after Leon Lederman).

6) tau neutrino: Donutino (after the DONUT collaboration). Possibly couples strongly to multiple (delicious) flavors.

QUARKS (end in "ikon"):

7) up quark: Gellikon (after Murray Gell-Mann).

8) down quark: Mannikon (after Murray Gell-Mann**).

9) strange quark: Zweigikon (after George Zweig). Note that it's pronounced "ZwayGikon" not "ZwayJikon" to make it more challenging, and anger the "GIF/JIF" crowd.

10) charm quark: GIMikon I couldn't decide between Glashikon, Iliopikon or Maianikon (for Sheldon Glashow, John Iliopoulos, and Luciano Maiani), but in the spirit of the J/psi compromise and after the associated mechanism, GIMikon seems to fit.

11) bottom quark: Herbikon (after Steve Herb). Sometimes affectionately called "the 2nd Ledermon".

12) top quark: Kobayashikon (after Makoto Kobayashi).

BOSONS (end in "ium"):

13) gluon: Gaillardium (after Mary Gaillard).

14) photon: Einsteinium*** (after... I think you can guess).

15) W boson: Rubbium (after Carlo Rubbia).

16) Z boson: Meerium (after Simon van der Meer).

and finally...

17) Higgs boson (same, after Peter Higgs).

Other rules:

A. First generation is lowercase; second generation is uppercase; third generation is \mathcal (cursive letters); bosons are \mathbb (block letters).

B. Force-carriers now spell out GERM, so interactions are GERM warfare.


*Note: Research is directly from Wikipedia's descriptions of particle physics history. When more than one person / group seemed equally worthy of the name, I either chose alphabetically or I chose the one I thought sounded funniest as a particle; no disrespect to the many others who made important contributions. Note also that this is a joke and I am just being silly.

**Corollary: Protons are now known as Gell-Gell-Mannikons, and Neutrons are now called Gell-Mann-Mannikons. Don't worry, this is not confusing at all.

***Yes I know there's an atom with this name. If we made all our conventions make sense then we wouldn't be doing our jobs. Also, I'm aware that others before Einstein argued for a "particle of light", but we'll give credit to Einstein and the photoelectric effect for establishing it.

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