In general, particles that do participate in strong interactions are called hadrons: protons and neutrons are hadrons. The hadrons are further sub-divided into baryons and mesons, according to the number of quarks they contain. Protons and neutrons each contain three quarks; they belong to the family of particles called the baryons. Other baryons are the lambda, sigma, xi, and omega particles. On the other hand mesons bosons and they are composed of two quarks: a quark and an antiquark. Besides charge and spin (1/2 for the baryons), two other quantum numbers are assigned to these particles: baryon number (B) and strangeness (S). Baryons have a baryon number, B, of 1, while their antiparticles, called antibaryons, have a baryon number of −1. A nucleus of deuterium (deuteron), for example, contains one proton and one neutron (each with a baryon number of 1) and has a baryon number of 2.
Since baryons make up most of the mass of ordinary atoms, the everyday matter is often referred to as baryonic matter.
The conservation of baryon number is an important rule for interactions and decays of baryons. No known interactions violate conservation of baryon number.
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