ABCs of

particle physics

is for quarks - they come in six kinds.


Quarks are among the smallest building blocks of matter. They come in six types: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Up and down quarks bind together via the strong nuclear force to form the protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei. The top quark is the heaviest elementary particle ever discovered. It weighs as much as an entire gold atom.


is for relativity- how

Einstein blew minds.


According to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, the passage of time depends on your frame of reference. Time passes differently for someone in motion than it does for a stationary observer. So someone on a rocket ship traveling near the speed of light will age more slowly than someone observing the ship from Earth.


is for supernova, making galaxies pale.


Supernovae are exploding stars. They emit much of their energy in invisible neutrinos, but they still shine brightly enough to temporarily eclipse entire galaxies in the sky. Certain types of supernovae explode with a predictable level of brightness. Scientists have used these types of supernovae to figure out how quickly the universe is expanding.


is for tracks particles

leave as a trail.


Physicists learn about invisible particles by studying the tracks that they leave in detectors. The shape of a track can tell a scientist about a particle’s energy, direction, speed or electric charge. You can see particle tracks on your own if you build your own cloud chamber! Tap here to learn how.


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