Particle Physics and the Flavor of the Day

Particle Physics and the Flavor of the Day

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Fundamental particles are the building blocks of matter, and, apparently, come in many more flavors than the basic few that make up the atoms we’re familiar with.

Flavor is the name scientists give to different versions of the same type of particle. For instance, quarks (which make up the protons and neutrons inside atoms) come in six flavors: up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm. Particles called leptons, a category that includes electrons, also come in six flavors, each with a different mass. But physicists are baffled as to why flavors exist at all, and why each flavor has different characteristics.

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