What is particle physics?

The aim of particle physics is to study the fundamental building blocks of nature and the forces they exert on each other.

A typical fixed target experiment consists of taking particles from a machine called an accelerator, colliding them with atomic nuclei in a target, and measuring what comes out in a machine called a detector (see scheme on left).

The bubble chamber, which served particle physics well for about 40 years, playing a crucial part in establishing the quark-parton model, is special because it is both target and detector:

So, the proton nuclei are the targets, and the electrons do the detecting.


How does a bubble chamber work? >