Our understanding of particle physics has changed greatly over the past several decades. We have gone beyond the Atomic Model to the Standard Model, our current best theory.We now understand the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei are not themselves fundamental, but are instead made up of quarks and gluons, with force messenger particles and leptons thrown in for good measure.
The Standard Model describes all of what we have observed with impressive accuracy. Yet, there is good reason to believe that the Standard Model may not be the end of the story. There are other theories and models being developed that could bring an even deeper level of understanding. All kinds of new experiments are needed to test the various ideas that have been proposed.
The KU high energy particle physics group believes that Physics is fun and exciting for people of any age. We have a wide variety of outreach programs that help educate learners regardless of age.
Through the QuarkNet program, KU scientists host area schoolteachers in workshops that help the teachers learn the best ways of presenting recent physics research to their students. The program also allows various high-school aged students to participate in research at the University of Kansas with the high energy particle physics group.
Quarked! Adventures in the Subatomic Universe
KU originated this multimedia program for children ages 6 and up with a website involving multiple fun games, hands-on programs, and animated videos. All these different programs strive to pique the curiosity of people, especially children, and show them how cool physics can really be!