Nuclear Physics: Not As a Stranger

Back in the 19305 when the nuclear era began, the building blocks of matter seemed simple enough. There were neutrons and protons nestled in the nucleus of the atom, electrons spinning around it, and photons to carry electromagnetic radiation. That seemed to be it. Then, after the big bomb-building breakthrough and the construction of billion-electron volt accelerators, scientists discovered a chaotic array of new particles. Some were so short-lived that their age was measured in less than a billionth of a second, their very existence inferred from the erratic tracks they left in bubble and cloud chambers. Some left...

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