Welcome to Particle Physics in Plain English!

Particle Physics in Plain English! is a public outreach project for the "Lepton Photon 2003 Conference" at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL, just west of Chicago. Here, you will be able to learn about the inner workings of the universe. Graduate students and young physics PhDs, actually studying the forces of our universe, have put together what we call "plain english summaries" about particle physics. The intention is to explain the world of our science to scientifically curious people without all the jargon and fancy equations that make it seem hard to understand. There may be some words and ideas that are unfamiliar to you, but this is your chance to hear the non-fiction side of science fiction, where we actually do have anti-matter containment systems, search for extra dimensions, and accelerate particles to travel at hundreds of millions of miles per hour.

First... What is Particle Physics ?

Particle physics is :

  • Studying the smallest things in the universe. These things are the building blocks of everything around us: seen and unseen.
  • Figuring out how the universe started, and how it got to look like it does now.
  • Figuring out all the forces in the universe. Forces are what makes things happen !
  • Predicting the future behavior of small particles and how they merge into bigger objects or transform into smaller ones.
  • Knowing what's inside everything.
  • Understanding how Energy (E) and matter (m) are related (Like in Einstein's formula!)

  • Here are the Plain English Topics:

    What is the structure of matter ?

    What's the matter with antimatter ?

    How do particle physicists see the particles ?

    The Top quark, worth its weight in gold

    Big world of small neutrinos

    The history of the universe

    The Quest for the World Formula/Theory of everything

    "Particle Physics in Plain English" was conceived, compiled, and edited by Ben Kilminster. Currently, a graduate student from the University of Rochester, he is finishing his thesis about particle physics on the CDF experiment at Fermilab. Thanks to Florencia Canelli (who wrote about the Top Quark) for reformatting the web pages to look nice. Ben, and the seven great Plain English writers, put this together for free, because they like what they do and want to tell you all about it!