ABCs of particle physics

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is for you, with a radioactive core.


You are a giant made of tiny particles. And you are a source of them! The food you consume and the air you breathe have small amounts of naturally occurring radioactive materials that become incorporated into your molecules and later decay. Each year, your body emits an amount of radiation roughly equivalent to four chest X-rays.

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is for the particle zoo that physicists explore!


In the 1950s and 1960s, scientists discovered hundreds of particles that they thought were fundamental—unable to be broken into any smaller bits. They called this unruly collection the particle zoo. Later, they discovered that many of these particles are made of smaller pieces. Today, the known particle zoo can be explained with just 17 fundamental particles: six types of quarks, six types of leptons, four force-carrying particles and the Higgs boson. But we don’t know yet what types of particles make up dark matter.