Find out which particle fits your personality best and learn about the properties of elementary particles: cern.ch/identities
In light of COVID-19 keep your spacetime distance - be a fermion ;)
Particle identities is an online personality quiz that has been developed by the S'Cool LAB team and translated into many different languages by volunteers. All particle designs are kindly provided by The Particle Zoo. The quiz was developed using the open-source, cross-platform game engine GDevelop.
Suggestions for educators
- Take the quiz: Have your students go through the online quiz on their own to find out which particle fits their personality best.
- Read about elementary particles and the Standard Model of Particle Physics, for example, using the text below.
- Write a particle ID card: The quiz includes a very short description of the respective particle at the end, but you can also encourage your students to find out more about their particle online. Students can, for example, write an ID card for their particle including its name, symbol, mass, electric charge, strong charge, weak charge, year of discovery, ...
- Compare particle ID cards: Students can compare each other's particles to find out, which particles share similar properties or which particles can interact with each other because they have the same type of charge.
- Play the quiz inversely: Once students understand the different particle properties, they can play the quiz in the other direction. How do you need to answer the quiz questions to end up as an anti-strange quark? or an electron? or an electron-neutrino?
- Can you find dark matter? A certain (randomly selected) answer combination will disclose a hypothetical particle no one has discovered yet, so-called "dark matter".
- Play a particle card game: To get familiar with the different elementary particles, students can use the particle cards developed by Netzwerk Teilchenwelt in the framework of different activities such as sorting exercises, triplet game, four corners game. A set of 61 particle cards is available in German, English and Spanish. You can find a description of the cards and ideas for different games in English here.
Information text - about particles and the Standard Model of Particle Physics
Excerpt from Woithe, Wiener & Van der Veken (2017)
The Standard Model of particle physics is one of the most successful theories in physics and describes the fundamental interactions between elementary particles. This theory sorts elementary particles according to their respective charges and describes how they interact through fundamental interactions. In this context, a charge is a property of an elementary particle that defines the fundamental interaction by which it is influenced. We then say that the corresponding interaction particle ‘couples’ to a certain charge. For example, gluons, the interaction particles of the strong interaction, couple to colour-charged particles.
Of the four fundamental interactions in nature, all except gravity are described by the Standard Model of particle physics: particles with an electric charge are influenced by the electromagnetic interaction (quantum electrodynamics, or QED for short), particles with a weak charge are influenced by the weak interaction (quantum flavour dynamics or QFD), and those with a colour charge are influenced by the strong interaction (quantum chromodynamics or QCD). Contrary to the fundamental interactions, the Brout–Englert–Higgs (BEH) field acts in a special way. Because it is a scalar field, it induces spontaneous symmetry-breaking, which in turn gives mass to all particles with which it interacts (this is commonly called the Higgs mechanism). In addition, the Higgs particle (H) couples to any other particle which has mass (including itself).
Interactions are mediated by their respective interaction particles: photons (γ) for the electromagnetic interaction, the weak bosons (W−, W+, and Z0) for the weak interaction, and gluons (g) for the strong interaction. Furthermore, an elementary particle can be influenced by more than one fundamental interaction, in which case it has several charges. For example, due to its electric and weak charges, a muon is influenced both by the electromagnetic interaction and the weak interaction.
Matter particles can be divided into three groups: quarks (q) and antiquarks (q); electrically charged leptons (l) and antileptons (l); neutrinos (ν) and antineutrinos (ν). All matter particles belong to the particle class called "fermions".
Gluons (g) couple to colour charge, which only quarks, antiquarks, and gluons themselves, have. Photons (γ) couple to electric charge, which is found in (anti)quarks and electrically charged (anti)leptons. The weak bosons (W−, W+ , Z0) couple to the weak charge, which all matter particles have. Weak bosons can also interact with the photon (but this is a pure weak interaction, not an electromagnetic one). And finally, the Brout–Englert–Higgs field interacts with particles that have mass (all particles except the gluon and the photon). Interaction particles are sometimes also called exchange particles. All interaction particles belong to the particle class called "bosons".
Read more about the Standard Modell of Particle Physics and its compact description, the so-called ‘Lagrangian’, here: Woithe, J., Wiener, G. J., & Van der Veken, F. F. (2017). Let’s have a coffee with the Standard Model of particle physics! Physics Education, 52(3), 034001.
Offline version of the quiz
- Windows: double click on the executable file to launch it
- macOS: Control-click(or right click) the app icon, then choose Open from the shortcut menu.
- Linux: On the command line : chmod +x Particle_Identities.AppImage or with the GUI : Right-click on the Particle_Identities.AppImage and click the ‘Properties’ entry, switch to the Permissions tab and click the ‘Allow executing file as program’ checkbox, close the dialog and double click the Particle_Identities.AppImage to run it.
Old version of the quiz
In 2021, we launched a new version of this quiz. Major changes include an updated design and an updated decision tree to minimise redundant questions.
However, if you prefer the old version, you can still find the quiz online here or download the offline version for different OS: MACOSX, Windows, Linux (Download, Extract the .zip file and read the instructions.txt file). Please note that the old version is no longer maintained and does not include all languages currently available.