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Question
What are quarks? Are they fundamental particles of an atom?

Answer
You ask that as if there's just one fundamental particle to an atom.  Quarks are believed to be one of the types of particles (there are six types of quarks, and six types of antiquarks) that make up just the protons and neutrons in an atom.  Then there are electrons, another fundamental particle.  "Fundamental" is probably an overused term in particle physics, in general.  And then there are gluons and various other bosons exchanged between the quarks to bind everything together...the study of particle physics is a little beyond the scope of this forum.

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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.

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

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