Subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller

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In summary, the article explains that the particles we have found up until this point are all more massive than the ones we initially knew about. It does not follow that there must be smaller and smaller particles, as this trend could be due to the decay of the more massive particles.
  • #1
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Each time we smash an atom, we find smaller and smaller subatomic particles. Could it be possible that subatomic particles exist infinitesimally smaller and that there is not end to the decreasing size? Would that have any relation to the relation between mass and energy per E=MC2, such that mass and energy are one in the same?
 
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  • #2
No, then yes. Mass and Energy are the same, just two ways of talking about the same thing. But the whole idea of quantum physics is that there is some 'state of lowest energy' that is the 'smallest' particle that can exist.

But your premise is wrong. That "Each time we smash an atom, we find smaller and smaller subatomic particles" thing may have been true in the 50s and 60s, and it was a big conundrum then, but it is no longer true. We have found 16 subatomic particles, all predicted by our theories, and now 1 other, which the scientific world is eagerly waiting to find out whether or not it was also predicted by our theories, or whether or not it is something else.
 
  • #4
Well, they can't get successively more massive as they are broken down, as then they would be larger than the actual particles that they make up. The fact remains that a universe is made up of galaxies, made up of orbiting stars, made up of orbiting planets, with orbiting moons, all of which are made up of atoms, which are made up of electrons orbiting around nuclei of protons and neutrons, which are then made up of quarks. The logic follows that there is likely some sort of additional division, possibly more particles, or possibly something currently inexplainable, like dark matter, for instance. The fact that we have virtually no idea what creates 93% of the gravitational effects within the cosmos shows are ignorance.

That said, thanks for the explanation!
 
  • #5
What Drakkith said made total sense in the context of scientific history but if you are touchy on that subject it may have been a little confusing. What he meant was the the first elementary particles we discovered (the up quarks, down quarks and electrons) turn out to actually be the lightest particles that we have found so far. With 1 or 2 exceptions, all the other particles we have found since that are elementary are heavier than the ones we first knew about.

And the logic doesn't follow. It's possible there are 'deeper' levels, and there have been theories proposed to that effect, but generally the evidence is not there for them and it's often assumed that the 'missing pieces' are new particles hitherto undiscovered.
 
  • #6
I see. Thanks for the explanation. That said, it seems just as naive to assume that there is, in fact, a 'smallest particle' as to assume that there is not.
 
  • #7
applebob said:
Well, they can't get successively more massive as they are broken down, as then they would be larger than the actual particles that they make up. The fact remains that a universe is made up of galaxies, made up of orbiting stars, made up of orbiting planets, with orbiting moons, all of which are made up of atoms, which are made up of electrons orbiting around nuclei of protons and neutrons, which are then made up of quarks. The logic follows that there is likely some sort of additional division, possibly more particles, or possibly something currently inexplainable, like dark matter, for instance. The fact that we have virtually no idea what creates 93% of the gravitational effects within the cosmos shows are ignorance.

That said, thanks for the explanation!

You misunderstand. The other subatomic particles are not inside each other. We can create them from particle collisions, but they rapidly decay into the lightest fundamental particles. We actually have no evidence that there are other, smaller, less massive particles making up the ones in the article I linked. They are, as far as we know, truly fundamental. While it may seem like its "logical" that there be smaller and smaller particles, in reality it is not. Just because we have seen that trend up until now in no way means that it should continue.
 
  • #8
applebob said:
I see. Thanks for the explanation. That said, it seems just as naive to assume that there is, in fact, a 'smallest particle' as to assume that there is not.

We don't assume either one. We look at the available evidence. So far we have no reason to believe there are smaller particles. If we find evidence in the future, then our view will change. That is the essence of science!
 
  • #9
Some subatomic particles do make up larger particles, such as the aforementioned protons and neutrons being made up of quarks. Again, without evidence that quarks are made up of yet smaller sub-subatomic particles, the assumption is moot. That said, I posit that they can be broken down further! Perhaps they're made up of D.M.P.s!
 
  • #10
You can posit it, as I said others have as well. But the bottom line is there is no evidence for it like there was evidence for quark theory a couple decades ago. And therefore until a theory comes up with something testable, it will be outside mainstream science.
 
  • #11
applebob said:
Some subatomic particles do make up larger particles, such as the aforementioned protons and neutrons being made up of quarks. Again, without evidence that quarks are made up of yet smaller sub-subatomic particles, the assumption is moot. That said, I posit that they can be broken down further! Perhaps they're made up of D.M.P.s!

You can posit what you like, but you can't do it here on PF according to the rules.
 
  • #12
applebob said:
Each time we smash an atom, we find smaller and smaller subatomic particles. Could it be possible that subatomic particles exist infinitesimally smaller and that there is not end to the decreasing size? Would that have any relation to the relation between mass and energy per E=MC2, such that mass and energy are one in the same?

There has been investigations of possible substructure of quarks, but so far results are negative and the consensus is that there is no such thing.
 
  • #14
applebob said:
... which are made up of electrons orbiting around nuclei of protons and neutrons...

Orbiting? this is not true and is also a 50's mindset.
 
  • #16
Important to note here that unless I am drastically misreading the links, the 'three parts of the electron' are quasi-particles. Look up at wikipedia to find the difference, but these are not elementary particles.
 

1. What are subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller?

Subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller are particles that make up atoms. They are the smallest particles that make up matter and include protons, neutrons, and electrons.

2. How small are subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller?

Subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller are incredibly tiny, with sizes ranging from 10^-15 meters to 10^-19 meters. To put it into perspective, a single atom is about 0.1 nanometers in diameter, while a subatomic particle is about 100,000 times smaller than that.

3. What is the significance of studying subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller?

Studying subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller is crucial to understanding the fundamental building blocks of the universe. It helps us understand the forces that govern the behavior of these particles and how they interact with each other to create the world around us.

4. Can subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller be seen?

No, subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are far too small to be observed even with the most powerful microscopes. Scientists use advanced technology and techniques, such as particle accelerators, to study these particles.

5. Are there any applications of subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller in everyday life?

Yes, there are many applications of subatomic particles infinitesimally smaller in everyday life. For example, understanding the properties of electrons has led to the development of electronic devices such as computers and smartphones. Additionally, nuclear power plants use the energy released from splitting atoms to generate electricity.

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