Those in the field of particle physics study some of the deepest and oldest mysteries, which have perplexed humankind for millennia. When they couple it with its cousin discipline of cosmology, scientists are able to make real progress on eternal questions. What are the ultimate building blocks of which everything is made? How did the universe come into existence, and what will be its ultimate fate?
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Over the last century, scientists have discovered atoms, only to find out that they were made of smaller objects still. The smallest objects known are the quarks that form the compact nucleus of atoms, and the leptons, the most familiar of which is the electron that swirls around the nucleus much in the way that planets orbit the sun. Of course, it is possible that smaller building blocks exist. It could well be that a current QuarkNet student will be the one to discover the next layer in the subatomic onion.