Scenery and Science in a Physics Wonderland
Meson Area, FTBF
Turn left back onto Discovery Road and continue driving back the way you came.
Here at Fermilab, we explore the Standard Model, our basic picture of particles physics. We’ve already talked about some of the 13 fundamental building blocks. There are the quarks, which come in six varieties: up, down, top, bottom, charm, and strange. Up and down quarks combine to make up the protons and neutrons in your atoms.
Mesons are particles made of one quark and one antiquark, and ahead on your right is the orange and blue-roofed Meson building. This is now the home of the Fermilab Test Beam Facility, where researchers test their experimental components before putting them in their projects. In fact, this is the only facility in the United States that lets scientists from all over the world test their detectors with high-energy hadron beams. A hadron is a kind of particle made of quarks, and includes mesons as well as baryons, which are made of three quarks.
Quarks are one big chunk of the Standard Model. Another group contains the leptons, the most famous of which is the electron that powers electronics. There are also other leptons: heavier versions of the electron called the muon and the tau, as well as the three flavors of neutrinos – the electron, muon and tau neutrinos. Finally, there are the force carriers, or bosons, and the famous Higgs boson, which gives particles mass.