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From Quarks to Quasars

About the Course
What is Science?
Quantitative Description

Celestial and Terrestrial Motion
Work and Energy
Heat and Thermodynamics
Light
Maxwell and Electromagnetism

Atoms and Chemistry

Atomic Spectra

Quantum Theory

Cosmology

Readings

Credits

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About the course title:

Quarks are part of the fundamental building blocks of matter. They, along with the leptons, are the the matter constituents of the fundamental particles. There are 6 types of quarks (and so 6 antiquarks) which combine to make protons, neutrons and a host of other particles. They are among the smallest things in the universe.

In the graphic a neutron, made of an up quark and two down quarks, undergoes beta decay and is replaced with a proton (one down and two up quarks). The W boson mediates the reaction. To assure charge and energy conservation an electron and an antineutrino are created. For more, click here.

Quasars are objects that reside in the most distant reaches of the universe. They are very high energy sources, producing many times the energy output of an entire galaxy, but occupying a region the size of our solar system. Current understanding is that these objects are the centers of active galaxies, home for supermassive black holes. They are seen by us now as they existed billions of years ago.

In the image, a quasar ejects a jet of particles extending 100,000 light years into space. This is quasar GB1508+57, discovered by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory at a distance of 12 billion light years.

The small image at the upper left is the actual photo taken by Chandra. For more on this, click here.