PART I THE
From Animals to Atoms
The Atomic Elements
The Particles of the Standard Model
Electrons and Positrons
FROM ANIMALS TO ATOMS
First, consider the structure of matter on the scale at which human beings exist,
at the level of atoms and molecules.
Human beings, and in fact all life forms on the Earth, are composed of cells. Cells
are made of molecules. Atoms bind together to form molecules.
Humans are composed of cells. Cells are the functional units of all life. Cells are
the building blocks from which all life is made including humans.
Through the organizing process of life, elementary atoms are bound together to form
the largest of molecules, the molecules of life, DNA. The structure of the still
larger organized group of molecules, the animal body, is encoded in DNA of the chromosomes.
The chromosomes are found in nearly every cell in the body. The building blocks of
DNA chromosomes are the atoms.
Atoms are made from electrons surrounding a positively charged nucleus. The nucleus
is composed of protons and neutrons. Protons are one unit positive charge and neutrons
Periodic Table - Mendeleev; The Electron - J. J. Thompson; The Nucleus - Neils
Bohr; The Proton - ?; The Neutron - Chadwick
THE ATOMIC ELEMENTS
The matter that can be seen in the universe, such as planets and stars
and galaxies of stars, is composed mainly of atoms. Atoms are composed of an atomic
nucleus, and an electron cloud "orbiting" the atomic nucleus. The electrons
orbiting the atomic nucleus provide most of the volume of the atom.
For instance the atom of helium has a nucleus which has two positive charges in the
nucleus and two negative electrons orbiting the positive nucleus.
Components of the Atom
The nucleus is composed of two more fundamental units of matter, the proton and neutron.
The variety of chemical elements are caused by the atomic nuclei having different
numbers of protons. The number of positive protons in the nucleus determines the
number of negative electrons which need to be captured by an atomic nucleus in order
for the atom to be electrically neutral.
A proton has one unit positive electrical charge and neutrons are neutral
in electrical charge. Therefore, at the level of the atomic elements, the structure
of matter is composed of electrons with negative electrical charge, the protons with
positive electrical charge, and neutrons with no charge.
The atomic constituents of matter all have anti-matter counterparts. The anti-matter
counterparts can form atoms of anti-matter.
THE PARTICLES OF THE STANDARD MODEL
The present dominant theory of the fundamental constituents of matter
is called the Standard Model. The Standard Model is the present explanation of the
organization of the structure of matter. In addition to the consituents of the atom,
the electron, proton, and neutron, other sub-atomic particles have been found such
as pions and kaons. In fact, hundreds of sub-atomic particles have been identified.
The Standard Model realizes a more fundemental grouping of these sub-atomic particles
and reveals the order in the plethora of sub-atomic particles.
The Standard Model organizes the most elementary components of matter of protons
and neutrons at a more fundamental level, the level of quarks. Up and down quarks
comprise protons and neutrons. Leptons, or lightweight particles are neutrinos and
electrons, which together with quarks comprise normal matter.
The Stadard Model particles and their anti-matter counterparts are shown below.
Standard Model Particles
electron electron neutrino
LEPTONS - PARTICLES OF THE STANDARD MODEL
Electrons were first known fundamental particle.
Neutrinos are a totally different animal than electrons, but electrons and neutrinos
are thought of in the Standard Model as being partner particles in that the neutrino
is something like a neutral electron.
Therefore, when a neutron decays under the weak force, the neutron converts to a
proton and a W+ particle. The W+ particle then decays into an electron and an anti-neutrino,
which is a kind of charged particle and chargeless anti-particle pair.
QUARKS - PARTICLES OF THE STANDARD MODEL
The quarks come in three poles of color charge.
The Standard Model proposes that protons and neutrons are composed
from two types of quarks, the up quark and the down quark. A proton is composed of
two up quarks and one down quark. A neutron is composed of one up quark and two down
NEUTRINOS - PARTICLES OF THE STANDARD MODEL
There is an another fundamental particle in the Standard Model not
yet mentioned, the neutrino. Consider the decay of a neutron. A neutron decays into
a proton, an anti-neutrino, and an electron. The ejected electron in the neutron
decay almost always exhibits left hand spin and the anti-neutrino always exhibits
right hand spin.
The ejected electron in the neutron decay almost always exhibits left hand spin
and the anti-neutrino always exhibits right hand spin.
A neutron is composed of one up quark and two down quarks. A proton is composed of
two up quarks and one down quark. Therefore, the Standard model proposes that the
decay of the neutron into a proton is actually the decay of a down quark into an
up quark and an anti-neutrino and an electron.
The corresponding decay of an anti-neutron into an anti-proton, a neutrino,
and an anti-electron or positron is shown below.
The corresponding decay of an anti-down quark into an anti-up quark and a
neutrino and a positron is shown below.
THE FLAW IN THE STANDARD MODEL
Particle physics bottom level. aesthetic flaw too complicated. "Don't
really see the Creator tweeking 20 knobs ..." "Six quarks and six leptons,
and their anti-particles, coming in three different colors is too complicated".
-Leon Lederman The Creation of the Universe PBS Home Video PBS 135
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Nature of Matter
Last Upadet: June 27, 1998
Created April 7, 1997Copyright © 1998
Starlight Publishing Company Hermosa Beach, CA