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Symmetry Magazine

This Super Cute 'ABCs of Particle Physics' Is Here to Test Your Physics Knowledge

10 MAR 2017

Let's face it - if you can't explain rocket science using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language, xkcd-style, you probably have a whole lot more to learn. So how confident are you in your particle physics basics?


Enter the new ABCs of Particle Physics - a free online book that will test you on your knowledge in the most adorable way. You might know your leptons from your kaons, and your neutrinos from your quarks, but do you know them well enough to explain them to a 10-year-old? 

The book has been published by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and is available as an animated or non-animated webpage, downloadable pdf, or a board book that you can buy.

(Our pick is the animated online version, because who doesn't want to see anthropomorphic Higgs bosons whizzing around?)

Physicists at the SLAC and Fermi labs just recently filmed Schrödinger's Cat behaviour in atoms for the first time, and have hinted at a brand new particle called a tetraquark, so this thing might look like it's just for kids, but there's some serious expertise behind it.

In The ABCs of Particle Physics, authors Lauren Biron and Chris Smith run you through the basics of physics - and despite what the title implies, there's a whole lot more here than just particles. 


From A to Z, it covers the massive stuff like black holes, supernovae, and the inflation of the Universe, and also the minute aspects of the laws of physics, like the forces and oscillations that affect the tiniest building blocks of matter.

Oh, and did we mention it rhymes?

k-abcs-1The ABCs of Particle Physics

l-abcsThe ABCs of Particle Physics

Even if your particle physics knowledge is rock solid, is there a better bedtime book out there to give the budding astronaut in your life a head start on the basics?

Look at how adorable this stuff is:

m-abcsThe ABCs of Particle Physics

c-abc-1The ABCs of Particle Physics

Check out more at the animated or non-animated webpage, download the pdf here, and for US$10.99, you can buy the physical book.

Header Board BookSymmetry Magazine

Because as Noble Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman always said, the quickest way to master a new topic - or to really test your basics - is to teach it to a kid. 

H/T: Gizmodo