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Quarks

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

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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.
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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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