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The Fundamental Particles Essay

717 words - 3 pages

You know what really makes you and me alike? We are both made up of trillions and trillions of cells, and even smaller atoms. These atoms make up all everyday matter, and till the beginning of the 20th century many people thought they were the smallest building blocks of life. It was then discovered that they too have even smaller parts called subatomic particles. In short, these particles often have interesting characteristics that keep the universe running. Understanding these subatomic particles is crucial towards grasping the idea that all matter is related in spectacular ways. Without these particles we wouldn’t know about the most fundamental building blocks of life, and wouldn’t have particle physics in general. Elementary particles help us understand the specifics about atoms, and without them there would be no standard model. They are rather interesting too: they are found in animals; found in food; found in space. They keep us both alive, and are responsible for many phenomenons. Elementary particles are important to us because they help make up atoms, include the important force carriers, and open up new thoughts and ideas on different topics, like quantum physics.

Quarks make up protons and neutrons, while leptons make up electrons. Combinations of these fermions are essentially why we have different elements, since they make up the different particles in atoms. Remember that elements are substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances, and are primary constituents of matter. They are important, and they exist because of these fermions. This makes the relationship between quarks and leptons extremely important. Take this simple example: why aren’t there any elements made up of just neutrons (quarks)? The answer is that neutrons are unstable. They have a half-life of only about 15 minutes, and only become stable when they are part of an atomic nucleus. This shows us that elementary particles all rely on each other in order to make up atoms, and ultimately, all matter.
It’s important to know that all interactions which affect particles are due to an exchange of force carriers. These force carriers are pretty fascinating and important. What we think of as normal “forces” are actually...

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