Explainer: quarks

09/12/2013 17:22

By Takashi Kubota, University of Melbourne

One of humanity’s eternal questions surrounds what we are fundamentally made of. Many ancient philosophies believed in a set of classical elements: from water, air, fire and earth of ancient Greeks; to water, fire, earth, metal and wood of East Asian Wu-Xing thought. Physicists today believe that matter is made up of twelve fundamental particles - quarks and leptons - that have no substructure and cannot be broken down into smaller particles. Quarks and leptons interact via four forces to make the universe we know today. [Read more] ...