Not to be confused with a hard-on, the hadron is the most common type of subatomic particle. A particle is considered a hadron when it is held together and interacts mainly via the strong nuclear force. Hadrons are divided into two groups: the mesons and the baryons. Various baryons include the proton, neutron, positive sigma, neutral sigma, and neutral lambda. Mesons include the positive, negative, and neutral pions and kaons, and the positive and negative D mesons.

All hadrons apart from the proton (and the neutron when it is bound in a stable nuclide) are known to be unstable: they can decay into other hadrons (hadronic decay modes), into leptons (leptonic decays), into both (semileptonic decays) or can decay via emission of photons (electromagnetic decays).

Quarks have a basic problem: they don't like to be apart. If you try to pull them apart they get upset. As you pull them apart the energy needed to pull them further apart keeps increasing. (this is unlike, say, an electron and a proton, where it decreases). If you pull them too far apart the energy between them is so large that two new quarks can be created (because energy is equivalent to mass). The new quarks will have the right color charge to cancel the color charges of the original quarks, and so they will all be happy again.

The upshot of all this is that quarks have to be bound with other quarks in a composite particle. These are called hadrons. There are two ways a hadron can make the color charges cancel: having two quarks with opposite colors (red/anti-red), in which case the hadron is a meson; or having three quarks, one with each color (red/green/blue), in which case the hadron is a baryon.

The particles that bind the quarks together inside a hadron are called gluons.

Any of over 100 elementary particles that are the building blocks of atomic particles such as protons and neutrons.

From the BioTech Dictionary at For further information see the BioTech homenode.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.