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Name: Bethan W.
Status: student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1/9/2004


Question:
How many sub-atomic particles are there in each atom?


Replies:
At present, protons and neutrons have been shown to be composed of "up" and "down" quarks held together by "gluons". In addition, several types of "neutrinos" and particles that have other properties that make them distinguishable -- specifically "charm", "strange", "top", "down". Three other particles appear to be "fundamental" -- the "electron", "muon", and "tau"-- and the elusive "Higgs boson", and the "graviton".

I don't think it is known if this is a complete list, and do not assign the conventional definition to terms like "strange", "top", "bottom". These properties are just given whimsical names by befuddled high energy physicists (just kidding).

The book: "Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics" by Martinus Veltman lays out the whole story in detail without most of the mathematics.

Vince Calder



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