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Pion-muon-electron (pi-mu-e) decay chain

Pion-muon-electron (pi-mu-e) decay chain

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Pion-muon-electron (pi-mu-e) decay chain

Emulsion photograph showing the classic pion-muon- electron (pi-mu-e) decay chain of a charged cosmic ray pion. The pion enters the picture at top left; it soon decays to a muon, which travels down the picture, & a neutrino, which is neutral & so leaves no track. At the bottom of the picture, the muon decays to an electron - the faint track heading to the right - & another neutrino. The muons track, which is about 0.6 mm long, becomes denser as the muon slows down before decaying. The picture was taken in 1948 by Cecil Powell, the English physicist who pioneered the use of photo- graphic emulsions to record particle tracks

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Media ID 6282483

Electron Emulsion Photo Emulsion Photograph Image In Physics Muon Nuclear Emulsion Odyssey Particle Particle Physics Pion

This print showcases the iconic pion-muon-electron (pi-mu-e) decay chain, captured through an emulsion photograph. Taken in 1948 by Cecil Powell, a pioneering English physicist in particle physics, this image offers a glimpse into the intricate world of subatomic particles. In the top left corner of the picture, we witness the entry point of a charged cosmic ray pion. As it swiftly decays, two distinct tracks emerge - one belonging to a muon and another representing a neutrino. The muon's path can be traced downwards towards the bottom of the image while gradually becoming denser as it slows down before its own decay. At the bottom right section of this remarkable snapshot lies evidence of yet another transformation within this decay chain. Here we observe a faint track heading to the right, indicating that the muon has now transformed into an electron. Accompanying this process is yet another neutrino departing silently without leaving any visible trace. The significance of this photograph lies not only in its aesthetic appeal but also in its scientific value. It symbolizes Powell's groundbreaking work utilizing photographic emulsions to record particle tracks and contributes to our understanding of fundamental particles and their behavior within nuclear emulsions. As we delve deeper into particle physics odyssey, images like these serve as reminders that there is still much more to uncover about our universe at both macroscopic and microscopic scales.

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