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Physics/decay of sub-atomic particles

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Question
I asked on my FB if the angular momentum of subatomic particles could be considered perpetual motion, and a response from an engineer indicated that it could not because everything was in a state of decay. I thought matter was indestructible, it could only change form. Do we know how subatomic particles decay?  (Sorry if any/all of this is ridiculous, I teach art.)  

  Thanks,
     Lauren

Answer
It's not perpetual motion, and not everything decays.  It's just in a minimum-energy ground state.  You can't extract energy from it, but it does indeed never stop.

The problem with "perpetual motion" is that it's commonly misused to mean "free energy."  It's just perpetual.  If your engineer friend can say that protons decay, then he's somehow beaten about 30 years of extensive physics observations.  They have a spin.  It may flip, but it doesn't just go away and they don't decay.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

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Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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