Elementary Particle Physics Today
The search for the ultimate constituents of matter and for the laws by which they combine has a somewhat periodic history, alternating between CHAOS, the discovery of ORDER, and the revelation of a new and confusing level of STRUCTURE. Begin with the chemical elements. Lavoisier was aware of some two dozen of them. Subsequent technical developments (like spectroscopy) led to the discovery and the synthesis of many more. Today, there are 108 known chemical elements, of which some twenty must be artificially produced. The time evolution of the number of known elements has been roughly linear for more than two centuries. Clearly, there are too many different varieties of atoms for them to be regarded as fundamental entities.
KeywordsHiggs Boson Proton Decay Grand Unify Theory Strange Quark Matter Proton Lifetime
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