Everything that exists can be classified into one of two categories: Matter, and Doesn’t Matter (also known as Energy). Matter is made up of particles. Energy might be made of particles as well, but it might be made of waves instead - it doesn’t really matter. There are many kinds of particles, such as electrons, photons, kryptons, and scantrons. The ways that particles interact are called forces. For example, one particle might use one of these forces to convince another particle that these aren’t the droids it’s looking for. There are four fundamental forces by which particles interact: the gravitational force, the electromagical force, the nuclear force, and the other force whose name escapes me at the moment. The gravitational force causes particles to attract each other. Unlike humans, particles are more attractive if they are heavier. The electromagical force is responsible for pretty much everything else that people actually notice happening, such as compasses pointing north, or computers being able to connect to the internet and display videos of cats being stupid when you are supposed to be working, or why you always run out of bagels two days after you went shopping even though you thought you had bought enough and so now you have to go to the store again and get more stupid bagels because it’s all you have time to eat before your eight o’clock class and the registrar’s office is so stupid because all the required courses for your major were at eight o’clock and so now you don’t get to sleep any more. The nuclear force is responsible for radioactive decay or something like that. And the other force performs some obscure function that probably isn’t necessary any more, kind of like the human appendix or the postal system, but it’s still there because they couldn’t be bothered to take it out.
So how do we know all these things about particles? Through experiments conducted in particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. This revolutionary piece of technology allows scientists to collide large hadrons (such as dodecahadrons and icosahadrons), a marked improvement from previous models which were only capable of colliding tetrahadrons. The LHC was a bit controversial when it was first proposed, as people feared that it would create a black hole that would destroy the world. These fears were unfounded, as the black hole it produced only sent the researchers back in time so that they could correct the design flaws that led to the black hole coming into being in the first place. It was using the LHC that scientists first learned that protons and neutrons are made of particles known as quarks, and that “quark” is objectively the funniest-sounding word in the English language. These and other data given by the LHC have proven invaluable to furthering the cause of physics.back