Particle Physics?

Two up quarks, one down quark, and a bunch of gluons... that's a proton!

Two up quarks, one down quark, and a bunch of gluons… that’s a proton!

Particle physics is what they do at CERN. It’s why they built the Large Hadron Collider, that big experimental facility built underneath France and Switzerland that fired up a few years ago and managed not to destroy the whole world with a black hole.

The Large Hadron Collider remains the biggest, most complicated piece of science equipment ever made.

… Which seems almost ironic, as it’s made to study the tiniest, most basic pieces matter is made of.

That’s what particle physics is all about: the study of the bits of matter that are smaller than atoms. It’s a weird world down at the subatomic level. There are forces that act over such small distances that you can’t detect them on our scale, but which are absolutely crucial to keeping the fundamental building blocks of everything stuck together. There are things with silly names, like “strange quarks”, or “gluons”, and there are weird ideas, like colour charge, which doesn’t actually have anything to do with colour.

Are you ready for a trip down the rabbit hole into the world of particle physics?


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