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Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of Unknowns Wikenigma - an Encyclopedia of the Unknown


Following theoretical calculations, particle accelerator experiments in the 1970s confirmed that quarks are responsible for the internal structure of protons and neutrons. ( 3 quarks each, in different configurations, see :Electron / Quark charge balanceplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigElectron / Quark charge balance


It's known that all atoms are based on a structure where the 'negative' electric charge of the electron(s) (conventionally known as '-1') exactly balances the 'positive' charge of the corresponding proton(s) in the atom's nucleus.

Again, as calculations predicted, six 'flavours' of quark have now been experimentally identified (ref. Wikipedia ), suggesting the obvious question, are quarks themselves formed from even more elementary particles?

Hypothetical sub-quark particles, given the name 'Preons ' in 1974, have been proposed as possible building-blocks for quarks. Some researchers maintain that they could help provide theoretical support for experimental findings. But, as yet, no experiment has confirmed (or refuted) their existence. See : Wikipedia

If quarks can be broken down, experiments underway at CERN's Large Hadron Collider may show their finer structure. Until then, the consensus is that they appear to be fundamental - in the same way that electrons and photons appear to be.

Note : As well as the ubiquitous protons and neutrons which quarks can form, there are also dozens of other possible theoretical combinations for 'exotic' hadron particles - at least 66 of which have now been experimentally observed at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (ref.).

It's a given that they are highly unstable and short-lived, if they weren't they would almost certainly be found in the natural environment.

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