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Apr27-06, 06:41 AM
Astronuc's Avatar
P: 21,906
Quote Quote by Universe_Man
By what means do scientists detect the presence of elementary particles? How do we know what we are looking at through these means of detection?
To detect means to establish a situation (an experiment) in which the 'elementary particle' in question interacts with the system (or particles in the system), or as BenLillie indicated, fundamental particles (electrons) or composites (e.g. protons, composites of quarks) can be collided. The result of that interaction is 'detected'.

The elementary particles are the 'smallest' individual particles, e.g. leptons like the neutrinos and electron (positron), quarks (which make up mesons and baryons), and then others like gluons, bosons, gravitons, . . . . The latter group is much harder to detect, and must be inferred indirectly from the particles that are detected.

From the link provided by BenLillie -
The Standard Model answers many of the questions about the structure and stability of matter with its six types of quarks, six types of leptons, and four forces. But the Standard Model is not complete; there are still many unanswered questions.