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Jim Hirschauer | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

But what are quarks made of?

The pressure is on.  I have read and enjoyed the US LHC blogs off and on for the past couple years, and so I was thrilled to be offered a chance to join the ranks of these entertaining and informative writers.  Now that it comes time for my first post, I admit that I am wracked with anxiety.  Whatever academic writing skills I may possess will be of little use to me here, right?

Abstract: A new LHC blogger is introduced.  His research is described …

See? It doesn’t work.  So I suppose that, to get over my anxiety related to this first post, I will stick to a subject that I know very well: my own research!  Here it goes …

The remarkable success of the LHC and the experiments that reside on its ring [including my experiment, the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS)] have made this an exciting time to be at CERN.  I have had the opportunity to help lead an exceptional group of researchers in a study of the early CMS data; this work has resulted in one of the first CMS publications based on data from 7 TeV proton-proton collisions.

To introduce this research, I’ll start with a little history:

We humans have been searching for the smallest unit of matter for a long time.  About 2500 years ago, Democritus proposed that all matter is made of tiny, indivisible (“atomos”) entities.  Unfortunately, Democritus was way ahead of his time, and even 2300 years after his hypothesis, we still did not know whether atoms really existed.  Finally, around 1800, Dalton and others realized that the elements combine in only certain proportions implying that there is a fundamental unit of each element; i.e., each element is made up of atoms.  Dalton’s atomic theory was a great advance, but it didn’t explain why there are so many (about 50, at the time) different elements.  The human tendency to categorize when presented with variety brought us Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of the Elements:

The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements

 

The fact that the elements fit nicely into a table based on their weights and chemical properties suggested that the elemental atoms are actually just different combinations of even smaller entities.  Only a few decades after Mendeleev presented his table, humans observed these sub-atomic entities when Thomson discovered the electron (1897), Rutherford the atomic nucleus (1910), and Chadwick the neutron (1932).

Soon after the discovery of the neutron, discoveries of particles that didn’t fit into our simple atomic model (e.g. pion, kaon, Lambda) hinted that a revision of that model was needed.  In the 1960’s, Gell-Mann suggested that these new particles, as well as protons and neutrons, were actually entries in another periodic table which he called the “Eightfold Way.”

The baryon octet of Gell-Mann's Eightfold Way.

 

Just as we now understand the diverse elements to be combinations of only three particles (protons, neutrons, and electrons), the Eightfold Way explained protons, neutrons, kaons, pions, etc. as combinations of particles that we now call quarks.  Only five years after Gell-Mann proposed his theory, these quarks were observed at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

And this is where it stands today.  As far as we know, quarks are indivisible; i.e., quarks are the smallest unit matter in the nucleus.  But wait!  We do observe there to be six quarks arranged in three generations:

I know what you’re thinking:  But this is another table!  This looks just like the Periodic Table or the Eightfold Way!   Isn’t this therefore a hint that even quarks (and leptons) are made up of something smaller still?

That is certainly a very reasonable guess, but only experiment can tell us for sure, and unfortunately, it gets progressively more difficult to see these small particles: roughly speaking, the atom is one million times smaller than a human hair, and the proton is 100,000 time smaller than the atom.   Our current understanding is that the quark is a point-like particle with no spatial extent!

My recent research focuses on searching for evidence that quarks are made up of even smaller stuff by probing these tiny distance scales.   The unprecedented energy of the LHC allows us to probe smaller distances than ever before: about 1/20,000 the size of the proton.   In my next post, I’ll describe how we actually do this and tell you what we have found.

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64 Responses to “But what are quarks made of?”

  1. Flip Tanedo says:

    Hi Jim! Welcome to the blog!

  2. PJ says:

    Thanks for posting this. I have been following this blog and have enjoyed reading the posts and seeing everyone’s excitement with the work being done and the discoveries being made. From as far back as I can remember I have always be interested in finding out how things work. This is the ultimate “how things work” experiment. I think that I missed my calling 20 some years ago when I decided to drop out of college and peruse a career in IT. I’ve Only recently discovered my complete fascination with particle physics (at least as much as one can understand with out the education.) Anyhoo…I found this post to be greatly helpful in my understanding of these elementary particles. there is a lot of information out there on this stuff, but you did a great job of putting it plainly. Thank You.

  3. Simon says:

    Jim: an elegant and simple first post! Eagerly anticipating your frequent articles.

  4. Jim-Very nice, I have been looking for a nicely sized Periodic Table for quite some time. I enjoy your writing. I hope that you stick around for a while. If you get a chance, check out my blog,

    http://sciencesprings.wordpress.com

    The blog is dedicated to raising the visibility of the US contribution to worldwide scientific research.

  5. Don M. says:

    Thanks Jim, all of you US/LHC bloggers are, in my opinion, amazing! I’am in my mid 70’s with no (nada) physics background (well maybe a “B” in high school), and you bloggers have made the CERN experiments somewhat understandable and definitely interesting.

    Thanks again to all, Don

  6. Don M. says:

    OK Jim, first dumb question. If something has “no spatial extent”, how do we get something (i.e a proton) from what I assume is nothing? It it possible that quarks are really “energy types” that that turn into something in certain combinations?

    Don

    • Jim Hirschauer says:

      Hi Don,

      Thanks very much for your kind words. This is an excellent question.

      First let me clarify one possibly misleading statement that I made: We don’t know whether the quark (or electron) has zero radius or just a really, really small radius. Our current theory assumes that they have zero radius, but if we discover that to be false, we will change the theory. (We assume zero radius for now because it is simple and there is no evidence to the contrary.) However, even if quarks and electrons really are point particles with no spatial extent, that doesn’t imply that they are “nothing.” Indeed, we have already experimentally observed that these particles have other well-defined properties such as mass and electric charge.

      We know that the proton has some physical size because Hofstadter measured it in the 1950’s. We have also been trying to determine whether the electron and quark have spatial extent (or are made up of smaller particles), but so far we have been unsuccessful. For instance, we currently can only conclude that, if the electron has a non-zero radius, it must be smaller than 1/10,000,000 the radius of the proton. I’ll write more about how we do this in my next post.

      So to conclude: we would say that quarks are elementary particles [with mass, charge, and undetectable (possibly zero) radius] which combine to make up protons, neutrons, pions, etc.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,

      Jim

  7. Jeff Mahr says:

    Thank you for such a plain language explanation! I have been following this blog off and on for a while, and while very interesting, the posts tend to be over my head when it comes to the science…I still don’t know what all those experiments are looking for (and to the other posters – please don’t stop, this is a frustration born of my ignorance). I am sure you are aware of this, but there are a whole lot of people keeping on eye on things over there, waiting for “the” announcement. My co-workers and I (we teach Biology at a community college) are really excited by this, but its funny that when we go to talk about specifics (“what are they really looking for”) none of us has a clue (proof of dark matter? anti particles? pieces of quarks? gravitons?). We have no clue what “the” announcement would be about. Anyhow, a plain-english description of the different experiments would be awesome (and devoured I am sure), however I am aware that there may be other things occupying your time (preventing black holes? developing next generation cloaking devices? turning lead into gold?). Thanks again.

  8. Joe Tuggle says:

    Go Jim! Way to generate some comments. :-)

  9. Stephen Brooks says:

    Don M.: quantum theory does this because in it, “point particles” are actually probability distributions that may be spread through a finite amount of space. The size of an electron orbital in an atom is determined from the strength of the force attracting it to the nucleus.

    Also on the periodic table, 110 = Uun not Unn

    • Jim Hirschauer says:

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your interest. You are absolutely correct that the position (or momentum, etc.) of any particle is described by a probability amplitude or wave function in quantum mechanics (QM).

      You are also correct that the QM nature of composite particles (particles that are made up of other particles) like protons and atoms complicates the measurement of their size. It would be nice if the notion of the “radius of the proton” were concrete, but because of QM, it is the root-mean-square charge radius of the proton that is experimentally accessible. Similarly, if we want to discuss the size of an atom, we find ourselves thinking about the fuzzy boundary described by the electron orbital that you mention.

      Let me clarify one thing you mentioned and in the process cross (or at least tread close to) the border between physics and philosophy: The probabilistic description of the position of the electron doesn’t imply that the electron has non-zero radius. The electron orbital tells us the probability of finding the electron in an atom at a given position. The probability of finding the electron anywhere in a one-Angstrom neighborhood about the nucleus is about 100%, but that doesn’t mean that the electron radius is one Angstrom.

      Thanks again for your helpful comments.

      Best,

      Jim

      P.S. I have NO idea what the name of element 110 is. :) Wikipedia confirms that the symbol for Ununnilium should be Uun, not Unn. In any case, the element is now formally named Darmstadtium (Ds).

  10. can i use above periodic table for assignment?

    • Jim Hirschauer says:

      Hi Alexander, Richard, and anyone else looking for a periodic table,

      I took this image from http://www.elementsdatabase.com/ where they write:
      “Our periodic table information can be useful for chemistry and physics students, as well as science researchers.” So I think it is fine to use. Please notice the mistake pointed out by Stephen Brooks: element 110 should be Uun or Ds, but not Unn.

      Best,

      Jim

  11. U.M. says:

    How will I use this in real life?

    • Jim Hirschauer says:

      Hi U.M.,

      Great question!

      I agree that a direct application of fundamental research like that performed at the LHC is not immediately obvious. However, the history of science is teeming with seemingly abstract discoveries resulting in practical technologies. One of my favorite examples is Einstein’s general theory of relativity: When the theory was first published in 1915, it’s unlikely anyone envisioned it would be crucial to an important technology in the short term, but only 60 years later the Global Positioning System (GPS), for which knowledge of relativity is absolutely necessary, was under development. Without corrections for the effects of relativity, GPS measurements of position would stray from the actual position by about 10 km per day!

      Thanks for posting.

      Best,

      Jim

  12. peassse says:

    Use your brain.

  13. Polly Putnam says:

    Thank you so much for this. It actually helped me understand things that I thought I never, ever would. It’s all so exciting!

    Cheers.

  14. tyler2 says:

    When speaking of quarks and what the matter is made from, I think tis should be added: the protons and neutrons, which constitute > 99.9% of all the mass around us, are made of up and down quarks. However, these quarks are very light – their (Higgs coupling) mass is few MeVs only, compared to nearly 1GeV mass of a proton or a neutron – order of 1000x more!

    Where does a proton or a neutron mass (and therefore virtually all the mass we perceive) come from? It comes from binding energy of the quarks, the strong force which holds the quarks together.

    In another words, over 99.9% of all the mass we come in contact with is not mass of elementary particles, but a mass of the strong field.

    • Hi, Tyler2. You are absolutely correct: most of the proton mass comes from QCD not the mass of the proton’s valence quarks. While this is very interesting, I think it is an issue separate from whether quarks are elementary particles. Regardless, I think you have given one of these US LHC bloggers a good idea for a future post … Thanks! – Jim

  15. Hi…

    Hmm…this is interesting post about Quarks its great Jim & welcome ^_^ anyway if Quarks is combination of particles then we can see it right ??? because Quarks is combination of particles attach by Gluon under high temperature…so if thats true the probability to see QGP inside collision chamber using same technology as powerfull telescope is high…^_^

  16. Don M. says:

    Hi Jim, Thanks for your response to my question. You said that quarks are “elementary”, I assume that means they are not made up from anything else. If thats the case how do they get their flavors (up, down, etc.), or is that just the way they are and there is nothing else?

    Don M.

    • Hello again, Don. Sorry for the slow response. Yes, by “elementary” I mean that quarks are not made up of anything else. Your excellent question amounts to: “If quarks are elementary, how can there be variety?” This is just what I was getting at in my post when I mentioned that the variety of elements told us that atoms are not elementary, and the variety of mesons (pions, kaons) and baryons (protons, neutrons) told us that those particles are not elementary. You’re asking the exact same question that physicists are asking. Unfortunately, this question remains unanswered.

      Our current theory assumes that quarks are elementary, and so your question of why quarks come in a variety of flavors is answered with this unsatisfying non-answer: “It is the nature of quarks to have flavor.” Just so you don’t think we are completely incompetent, I can assure you that this theory’s description of how quarks and other particles behave, given their flavors, has been a screaming success in most ways. There are a few loose ends (including your question) which tell us that our theories are not complete. -Jim

  17. Dean says:

    We keep trying to find out what one subatomic particle is made of but it never satisfies the one true question I’m sure most have. Eventually, we will hit a dead end and find that we have discovered the smallest particle there is (which could be quarks), the question will still remain. How did those quarks come into existence? We keep asking how are things made, but we defer to just trying to find a smaller particle to explain how the “bigger” one came to be. i.e. Lead is made of atoms, atoms are made of baryons and baryons are made of quarks. When we hit the smallest unit, what are we going to do? Where did that small fundamental building block for everything that we know today come from? It is stated that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed. But how was that matter created in the first place? Can matter be created from nothing?! Something created from nothing would be irrational. And trying to rationalize something that is irrational is being irrational in itself. So, is the question, “How was matter created in the first place?” an irrational question or is there an irrational answer for it that, obviously, cannot be rationalized? Whatever it is, and I’d hate to say this, but, math and logic may be out of its league for this one. Unless there’s something our minds just can’t yet comprehend. Its a humbling concept, and I’m caught in its frustrating allure and mystery :/

    • Shayantan Chaudhuri says:

      Matter can be created from nothing. There has been proof that the vacuum is alive and has short energy bursts. In these bursts matter and antimatter are both created

    • Joshua says:

      Where did the particles that comprised that vacuum come from?

    • Roberto says:

      I think that you are absolutely right that the real truth might be soemthing that our minds cannot yet comprehend. that is the only logical answer to all of this. otherwise the true elementary particle is impossible

    • Patrick says:

      What if energy/matter/all was created by consciousness? that living/conscious vortex perhaps god? Maby we ARE all one every living thing a piece of god itself and all matter the building blocks in which we create all things, and remember we do not contain the imagination to sence what we are missing, or do we?

    • Tyler Winkler says:

      Well I do not think that it’s not our minds that can’t comprehend the true answer, I just think that we are asking the wrong questions. I mean think about this, if a licensed teacher wasn’t the one to tell you that everything is made out of atoms, would you really believe anyone else? Based on that concept alone I think that is mind blowing. But then to tell me that atoms are made of BILLIONS of even smaller particles, at that point I wouldn’t even believe my own father if he told me that. That’s just the way I see things anyway.

  18. Hi! i m very much delighted to be here and reading u’r blog!!very impressive indeed!

  19. CAN THERE BE ANY QUANTUM-LIKE LAW IN THE ROTATION OF PLANETS? YOU SEE,AROUND A SUN VARIOUS PLANETS ARE ORRIENTED AT DIFFERENT PLANES,SUN MAKES PRESSESION;JUST LIKE BOHR ATOMIC MODEL?

  20. Solomon Deathshead says:

    So many folks are probably wondering what quarks and electrons are made out of. I think the physicists will eventually discover that they’re made of butter. Just like the moon is made out of ribs.

  21. Conner says:

    Hi Jim, well u know how u said that quarks are made of nothing, is there a possibility that quarks are simply made from inter-dimensional energy?

  22. James says:

    Perhaps quarks could be split or fused to releae more energy then atoms in nuclear fission.

    • It is just like rooms in a house. A house may have 6 rooms so the area per head is more. However if there are 6 people in the house, so the per head are is 1/6 or the total area.
      Similarly quarks may not provide enough energy that an atom produces.
      I may be wrong but that is what i think should be the fact. Please correct me if I am wrong

  23. Elias Atomos says:

    Why are there only 6 types (flavors) of quarks? Has any research uncovered the possibility of other quarks existing?

  24. Gregory says:

    Ultimately, if we discover the fundamental particle, we’re still faced with a conundrum: Of what is that particle comprised?

    Some say “energy”, but then we have to ask of what energy is comprised.

    If matter is merely a fancily arranged portion of energy tweaked and tuned so it takes on the shape of an atom with all of its inner parts fully functioning, then what is this “energy” which is capable of wearing a wide variety of costumes and playing many roles?

    I guess my question is more akin to philosophy than physics, because I doubt we will ever discover the true nature and composition of the energy by which all things consist.

    • Conner says:

      And so my theory about Quarks binging comprised of inter-dementional energy could be viable, I think… Just think about it

  25. Science boy says:

    what about string theory I believe that these quarks are made out of tiny strings of light

  26. Søren Schauser says:

    Hi Jim. Thanks for a great post. One question: Most fermions, leptons and bosons in the Standard Model have different and pretty well-defined qualities. When those particles in the very beginning ‘condensed’ from the unified state – how did they get the same qualities? Why do quarks for instance have only six different masses, not a more or less infinite broad range of masses?

    • Søren Schauser says:

      Or if I may re-phrase: I understand that the early photons during Pnack-epoch collided and resulted in virtual pair-production. I also understand that this lead to a foam of primordial black holes – which again ended up as a foam of spacetime and lumps of GUT matter. What I don’t get, is how symmetry-breaking continued by making those lumps to leptons and especially a huge amount of quarcks with exactly the same properties? If hard matter as well as bosons were built of some sort ‘smallest possible Planck unit’, I could somehow see why :) But what governs how the relatively few kinds of particles and fields in the Standard Model endned up having so many copies? Thanks, Søren

    • Patrick Taylor says:

      Soren then is the first time I have ever seen these forums, I honestly love the open thinking…. But I have a sort analogy to propose. Have you ever played those games where you are given several pictures and then asked to identify the ones alike or the ones different, now some people are able to do that easier then others. My point is that maybe, just maybe there are only six different masses because we have extended are knowledge to notice that only 6 different particles are there! Now I already know that I am more then likely going to be disproven, but I am a sophomore in Highschool and just decided, hey why not input my little idea!

  27. sree kumar says:

    Hi
    I was very much delighted to read the various interactions on this subject. It is another chicken or egg question. The basic problem is that we are trying to comprehend something beyond the scope of our
    mind and intelligence. If there is no subject where is the object. Our consciousness makes matter which is evolved in sigle plane of vibrating frequency. There are billions and billions of frquency planes and their permutation combinations. The assemblage of various energy schemes and their permutation combination as in simple digital systems is mind boggling. We see the things as we are. We are not sure about anything. We are conditioned to understand this much only. Well concepts, and concept of that concept until we reach the dead end again. The universe is a manifestation in a sigle plane of energy assemblage suited to our systems. We are not endowed with the tools required to know the royal secret of cration. We shall search within we will be enlightened for we are an infinismal part of That hologram. Lots of love Sree

  28. Tyler Winkler says:

    So I’m just a high school student who has always been very curious about the way the world works. Which has brought me to this blog. But the thing that really I don’t understand is, if there are these very tiny particles that might not have any spatial value at all, then how can we think? If all we are are these tiny dots that are “invisible” then how can are thoughts exists along side these particles? Are our thoughts some kind of different matter that can just “float” in our minds and that can “connect” with these “invisible” dots where then our brain can make sense of it. And saying this, I know it probally won’t make any sense to anyone, but as I said I’m a high school student. This is the basics of what I understand. If anyone knows or understands what I’m talking about fell free to email me at Twinky992@hotmail.com. I am very interested in this subject and would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.

  29. Kevin Marston says:

    I had a very interesting idea not too long ago.
    It’s very similar to the basis of computer data, which essentially can be boiled down to 1’s and 0s. These data, when arranged in different patterns, yield different results.
    Knowing this, I also realized that as far as I knew, the organization for how atoms worked was very random; a small change in the number of electrons, protons, or neutrons could be the difference between a harmless substance and a deadly poison.
    These gave me the idea that possibly, somewhere possibly far smaller than even quarks, all matter would eventually come to some impossibly singular unit that somehow led to the impressively variant reactions between atoms and other subatomic particles, and that this unit (there would be only one kind) would create these differences in the same basic way as computer data; 1s and 0s. However, with this, the 1s would be the presence of this unit and the 0s would be the absence of it. With this simple concept, and the incredibly massive amount of patterns that it could create (expanding in 3d, as our world is 3d) would lead to all the properties and reactions of matter in the universe.
    Please feel free to email me at marstonkevin@comcast.net if you don’t understand what I’m saying (I can be a bit wordy at times, I’ll admit.)
    And please excuse my very basic understanding of quarks and such. After all, I’m only in 8th Grade. :)

  30. If quarks are point particles with zero radius, then even infinite quarks in a proton would not suffice for making it complete. Being point particles , they have to have a very very very small radius which cannot be calculated using the machines available today. Thus, would you kindly tell me the reason for which yo have used the term “ZERO RADIUS” because you are most knowledgeable than me in this fiels as I am merely a high school student.
    If there is any thing that you would like me to understand please do send a mail on keshavjhawar95@gmail.com and I shall be most grateful to you

    • The quarks constitute an invisible triangle. The gluon being the line of force connecting the quarks, acts as photon in the streaks of light. Therefore, the up triangle and the down triangle of the proton and the neutron are linked together. therein lives the stronger force. in gold 79 protons are connected to 79 neutrons. therefor, if gluon by itself is to bear the stronger force, then whether the mere spilit in the proton itself ctreate explosion?

  31. Dear Sir ,
    I am an old man(71)charmed by Phisics and nonreligious . Please let me show my supposition :
    If not quarks , maybe another , smaller particle , could be made of pure energy , so to finish looking for the smalest particles ! Einstein admitted that : E = mc2 . That also allow to concentrate the Universe in a mathematical point(Big Bang)since the energy has no dimensions !
    Also the temperature(which is the intensity of mouvement of particles)will lose the sense in absence of matter . So , the Big Bang could be a cosmical transformation of energy into matter . Of course , rises the question : “which is the source of the energy ?” I have a single answer : “something inconceivable that nonscientist people resign to call the God”
    Maybe the study of energy fields will reveal the secret of matter ?

  32. Ivy says:

    Hi!
    I’m 11 years old and I’m really interested in science. When I grow up, I want to discover new things. I just wanted to say you did such an excellent job. This kind of thing is usually hard for 11 year olds to understand, but I got it perfectly. Thanks!

  33. In my Book titled; The Last Chapter of the Symphony of Existence (The Super Unified Field Theory), you will find the dimensions of all types of Quarks. Also, this book will radically change the track of the research work of Theoretical Physics, Particle Physics and Cosmology in this century, and considered, in the same time, a Paradigm Shift in the human thought. This book will help you in understanding the universe, the matter, the antimatter, the religion, the destiny of mankind and the objectives of our creation, as Einstein said; “Science without religion is lame, and religion without science is blind.”

  34. Please note that, this is not publicity for the book, and I’m willing to submit a short presentation for the entire book (19.5 MB). Of course, if you are looking, faithfully, for “the scientific truth” as well as the “absolute truth”. With regards.

    • Nathan White says:

      I would love to read your work so I can further my knowledge in quarks. I believe we’re waisting time looking into space when the answtoer to life is clearly within these quarks. We need to keep going smaller to see the bigger picture.

  35. Nathan White says:

    I just read this and believe your on the way to discoverini g the meaning of life itself.

  36. Bruno says:

    Nice post just please don’t say quarks have 0 radius that sounds silly… if it had 0 radius it would simply not exist. It has a very small radius yes but not 0. :)

    As for dimensions and the question about the possibility of existing an even smaller particle I have no idea why scientists tend to assume any particle they discover can’t be made of even smaller particles… size is really irrelevant, just because it looks small to us it doesn’t mean it is the smallest, it is just small in OUR perspective. In the perspective of a quark, an atom is huge…

    I’m pretty sure there are particles billions of times smaller than quarks which are made of even smaller ones, there’s no reason to assume there is a limitation just because we want it to be, as far as we know it could just extend forever like Pi does as we must assume this is the rule unless there is reason in contrary rather than believe we reached the limit unless proof in contrary… :)

    Manipulating quarks allows us to transform matter into any type of matter or energy, as we go deeper we’ll be able to manipulate dimensions previously unknown to us as the exotic materials we can create will have unusual physical properties. Of course this is probably centuries away but we’ll get there.

    In another point, we also don’t know how big the universe is or what lies beyond and maybe an universe is just the size of a quark in another perspective… we just don’t know. In our ignorance of what reality truly is, I’d prefer to avoid terms like “limitation”, “impossible”, etc. We’re too ignorant to use those terms. :)

  37. Bob S says:

    Great blog, very thought provoking! I’m really interested in the effects extreme gravity would have on quarks.

    My question references black holes in relation to the effects of their gravity ripping apart matter to the quark level. For arguments sake, lets set frame dragging aside and assume since black holes gain mass that it’s not a hole but a sphere. So at some point, gravity is ripping matter apart, is it plausible that gravity could break down a proton into its quarks and pull quarks down and compress them into a shpehrical structure? Quarks whether engery or particle couldn’t escape and you can’t lose the information, would it neatly compact the quarks into whatever element extreme pressure and temp would create?

    I am assuming that if you can smash two protons togeter in the LHC, then gravity can compress two protons togeter into its quarks.

  38. VM says:

    Why is Higgs Boson not showing in the elementary particles diagram above ?

  39. Gary Merritt says:

    I think the real question is why there is something instead of nothing. This has always been answered by the god answer. Then the question is where did god come from. But a god is not needed it is only an extra step, an excuse why there is no answer. We just have to admit there is no answer, all we can say is there is something and work from there. As far as we can go at present is to say we have quarks and they appear to be point sources of energy with no radius. At this point the particle theory breaks down. How can we have a particle if it has no radius. I believe a quark is a vortex in the space aether and energy should be defined as any movement in this space either. It is the space aether which is the basic substance. We will never know where it came from we can only say for sure it exist. The six different flavors of quarks can be defined as different vortex structures and how we perceive then. It may be the way they connect together that makes them look different. It may be a single quark can not exist, it needs to be connected to other quarks to maintain it’s vortex. The vortex of space aether appears to be a particle but needs no radius as the radius is space aether and gradually becomes and is connected to the aether.In other words it’s radius is all of space.

    Gary

  40. adrian says:

    what made the first thing or chemical in the world?

  41. Alan says:

    If, as some cosmologists believe, the Universe is infinite at a macro level, could it also be infinite at the other end of the scale with quarks being made of another, smaller sub-atomic particle, and those particles being made of even smaller particles, and so on, ad infinitum?

  42. Elisabeth Caskey says:

    Have there been scientific papers published that describe the current ideas about the size of quarks? I am writing a paper and I need to properly footnote that the size of quarks has not been determined, but are thought to be infinitesimally small, with a wave function describing their location with respect to the particle that they constitute.
    Thank you.

  43. Shu says:

    Hi guys, of all the physics forums I’ve visited, this is the best. There’s freedom of opinion, clarity of subject and most of all no-one tries to prove something with just delirious mathematics and equations.
    Being nonreligious, I’m still disturbed about the answer to the final question everyone here,including me, is pondering over : WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM ? If we keep asking questions along these lines, all the while making discoveries beyond atoms, beyond quarks, beyond strings…., where will it all end up ? A dead end like someone said ? This will mean that either the human brain can go no further OR that it all began with magic, otherwise known as GOD ! Just think about it. Personally, I cannot conceive of a way out.
    As if that weren’t enough to warp one’s brain, I got another slightly-off- topic- question about the universe that I continually keep asking myself “WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT ?! “

  44. Rohit Patil says:

    Science has discovered that matter is made up of atoms, atoms are made up of fundamental particles proton, electron, neutron. also that these fundamental particles are made up of quarks. So my question is what are quarks made up of? quark also is a bulky because it has mass. Something must be there inside the quarks and then inside and deep inside . I think that this chain will never end.

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