Schmidt, Paul W. Formerly, Department of Physics, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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Any interaction between particles, aggregates of particles, or rigid bodies in which they come near enough to exert a mutual influence, generally with exchange of energy. Broadly speaking, interactions can occur between particles that are simply next to each other, while a collision involves a particle approaching another particle with some velocity and then the two particles undergo an interaction. Macroscopic physical examples include a car crash or struck billiard balls (see video example). On small scales, molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles can likewise undergo collisions, either naturally or artificially for scientific experimentation in particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. See also: Atom; Elementary particle; Ion-solid interactions; Large Hadron Collider (LHC); Molecule; Particle accelerator; Relativistic heavy-ion collisions
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