Pictures From Atom Smashers

  • By Zack Sullivan
  • Posted 10.28.03
  • NOVA

How do particle accelerators—also known as "atom smashers"—reveal the subatomic particles that are the building blocks of nature? In this interactive, view a gallery of images from the most important discoveries in particle physics—discoveries that have deepened physicists' understanding of matter and string theory.

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Explore images from particle accelerators that have captured particles in the act of being created or destroyed.

Editor's note: It is difficult to discuss the details of particle events without getting a bit technical. For an overview of the questions particle physicists are trying to answer and how they go about it, the author recommends you visit the Particle Adventure Web site ( For definitions of unfamiliar terms in this article, he suggests you consult the site's extensive glossary (

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program The Elegant Universe.



(Tevatron, bottom quark, top quark, tau neutrino, neutrino mass, gluon, Higgs boson, supersymmetry, extra dimensions)
© Fermilab
(strange quark)
© Brookhaven National Laboratory
(charm quark)
© SLAC photo/Stanford University
(electroweak symmetry)

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