Why Particle Physics?

Because: Cockroft-Walton accelerator at FermiLab:  verry sci-fi looking!

"How is it that our universe came to be so rich and varied? Why are there stars, light, planets, and a hundred different atoms that can be combined into countless molecules?

Elementary-particle physicists seek answers to these questions by studying subatomic particles and forces.

Although these investigations require sophisticated instruments to reveal phenomena far smaller and more energetic than we are aware of in daily life, the deep connection between the two realms inspires researchers in elementary-particle physics and lends added significance to their investigations."

-- from Elementary Particle Physics, The National Research Council's Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications (1998).

Suggestions for students using this page:

Report of the 2004-5 class projects

"In 1928, physicist and Nobel prize winner Max Born told a group of visitors, "Physics, as we know it, will be over in six months." His confidence was based on the recent discovery by Dirac of the equation that governed the electron. It was thought that a similar equation would govern the proton, which was the only other particle known at the time, and that would be the end of theoretical physics. However, the discovery of the neutron [1932] and of nuclear forces knocked that one on the head too."
-- Stephen Hawking, The Illustrated 'A Brief History of Time'

"Great advances in Physics are a result of bigger and better experiments."
-- Paul Padley, Rice University

April, 2005
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