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Classification of Particles

 The most basic way of classifying particles is by their mass.

Hadrons are the heaviest particles. This group is then spilt up into baryons and mesons.  Baryons are the heaviest particles of all, followed by mesons.

Leptons are the lightest particles.

Particle Classification



Hadrons are subject to the strong nuclear force, they are not fundamental particles as they are made up of quarks.

Baryons, the proton is the only stable baryon all other baryons eventually decay into a proton. All baryons contain three quarks. See the examples below.

  • proton
  • neutron

Antibaryons, see the examples below

  • antiproton
  • antineutron

Mesons, all mesons contain a quark and an antiquark. See the examples below.

  • pion
  • kaon



Leptons, are subject to the weak nuclear force (they do not feel the strong nuclear force). See the examples below.

  • electron
  • muon
  • neutrino

Links to other pages in this topic;

Constituents of the Atom

Stable and Unstable Nuclei

Particles, Antiparticles & Photons

Particle Interactions

Classification of Particles

Quarks & Anti-quarks