August 17, 2007

Nightmare of the Week: Particle Physics Sudoku

To solve this puzzle, all you need to do is make sure that each row, column, and 4x4 sub-grid contains each of the 16 observed particles usually listed as the components of the Standard Model. Those are the six quarks: u, d, s, c, t, b; the six leptons: e, μ, τ, νe, νμ, ντ; and the four force carriers: γ, g, W, Z. There is only one solution to this puzzle, but be warned: Don’t expect to solve this in five minutes. And don’t let those pesky neutrinos confuse you!
Sudoku, as everyone knows, is a fun little game where you arrange the numbers 1-9 along rows and columns and in 3x3 boxes so that none repeat. But last month, looking to improve upon the dull tyranny of integers, Symmetry Magazine tried replacing them with the sixteen known elementary particles. Of course, in addition to upping the confusion with new symbols, the grid is now horrifyingly large. It looks like a nice distraction for when you get bored with your QCD calculations and need to work on something a little harder.