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Shell image/ Home button Fundamental Physics in Space
The Story of Our Search
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The Story of our Search
Fundamental Physics
Sensational Symmetry
Big Bang and Beyond
It's About Time
Quantum Questions
Adventures in Science
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CHAPTER FIVE

QUANTUM QUESTIONS:
PROBING THE MIGHTY UNSEEN

electron Enter another world where nothing is as we think it should be--where Nature's most basic ingredients are so small and so fleeting that no human has actually ever seen them. Ever heard of leptons, mesons, baryons, and quarks? There's a whole particle zoo out there to discover in the subatomic realm.

Sound scary and complicated? Quantum physics may seem alien, but this tiny world of particles and forces is a part of us and of the entire Universe. Studying what goes on at this micro-level might hold some of the ultimate clues to how the Universe is put together at all scales.

It turns out that Nature has specific sized "measuring spoons" for creating the contents of the Universe. Energy and matter are doled out in very precise packets called "quanta"--not too much, not too little. More than that, no "ingredient" seems to exist on its own! Everything that appears to stand alone is actually a part of a giant pattern in which the relationships among elements just may "matter" more than the elements themselves.

If that sounds confusing, think of it this way--everything's connected. Here you'll find out how, and what the relationships mean to you as an Observer of the Universe.


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