Monday, 18 February 2008

Particle Man

Some things just fascinate me for no particular reason that I can point it other than them being there. Given that tonight's warm and that tomorrow we need to get up early in the morning, I thought the time has come for a short post on how fascinating this world of ours is.
I've first heard of quarks while at uni. I remember walking through the math/physics building and seeing a sign saying something about quarks in the context of a lecture and how they're basic particles, and I was curious: till then I was taught that protons, neutrons and electrons are the basic particles; where did these quarks come from?
Years passed by and I realized through hearsay that quarks are the building blocks of protons and such, but what I never figured out is exactly how. To be honest, I'm sort of annoyed with myself at never really bothering to find this one out; I mean, there are many interesting questions to be asked of a fairly critical nature, such as why does time progress the way it does, and "what makes atoms behave like atoms" is one of them. Questions that any person worthy of a brain should ask themselves.
Well, today I got myself an answer through an article in Scientific American. It's not really an explanation on quarks, it's more to do with the new particle accelerator built by CERN, but it features an explanation. More importantly, it features a nice diagram that summarizes it all.
Read it and weep. It's wonderful.

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