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Electrons, Protons, Neutrons - Build-stones?

  1. Nov 8, 2012 #1
    Hello. You'll have to excuse my spelling (If I spelled anything wrong), I'm from Sweden and even though I'm told to be good at English, I'm not an expert.

    I literally just found this forum in my search for some kind of physics forum where I could ask the following question:

    Are electrons, protons and neutrons build-stones in them-self or is it first when they're combined - making some type of atom they become a build-stone - an atom?

    I'm not some kind of physics enthusiast and this is not a question I got from home work. It's simply a question I find interesting, so I told my friend to think about and we came up with two different answers - yes, and no.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    A native English speaker would say "building blocks" instead of "build stones", but that's no big deal - it's clear what you mean.

    Yes, the protons, neutrons, and electrons are the building blocks of atoms - every atom is built out of some combination of these three particles. However, only the electron is (as far as we know) a fundamental particle that can't be knocked down into smaller parts; protons and neutrons are formed from smaller building blocks called quarks.
  4. Nov 8, 2012 #3
    Ok thanks =-)

    Kind of mad though, I was wrong =-(
    I basically thought that these three particles simply existed and made atoms. I didn't know they were actual building blocks... :/

    Thanks for the info though. I believe I'll stick to this forum. Physics seems kind of fun and interesting. My future career path stands between either:
    • Theoretical or Experimental physicist (I'm not as smart as they're supposed to be but either like Sheldon or Leonard in the TV-series Big Bang Theory)
    • Software/Game developer
    • Army-man
  5. Nov 9, 2012 #4


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    What do you mean? They exist and are also building blocks of atoms. Were you thinking that they physically combined and disappeared, and an atom was a singular new particle?
  6. Nov 9, 2012 #5
    All matter is made up of smaller building blocks (until you get down to the fundamental (as far as we know) level of quarks, leptons and bosons). The elementary particles build into hadrons such as protons and neutrons, which build into atoms, which build into the matter you see around you, which can of course be built up into larger structures.
  7. Nov 9, 2012 #6


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    Gold Member

    You'll find lots of information about this if you Google "Standard Model of physics"
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