What’s the matter

Faye Flam has written an interesting article about the Large Hadron Collider in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

University of Pennsylvania physicist Evelyn Thomson says she’s long been fascinated by the nature of mass, which in its familiar form gives things heft and makes them prone to gravity.

But mass stops making sense when applied to subatomic particles.

So far, for example, physics has uncovered evidence for 16 indivisible particles, some carrying hundreds, even thousands of times as much mass as others. A few weigh nothing at all. No known rule or law explains this.

Solving the mystery could revolutionize our understanding of the ultimate substructure of matter and perhaps explain why the properties of its smallest building blocks appear “fine tuned” to make our existence possible.

Read on, it is well done: What’s the matter | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/22/2008

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