|Photo from Amazon|
According to OFTA, electrons, protons, and neutrons made up the building blocks of the universe, and that grade-school template was sufficient to get me through high school chemistry and even AP physics, which at the time stopped with Newton's principles (which is like ending the study of economics with Adam Smith).
It turns out that the universe is much more complicated than Walt Disney said it was. According to what physicists call the Standard Model, protons and neutrons are made up of even smaller particles like leptons, gluons, and quarks. These particles are acted upon by four fundamental forces: electro-magnetism, the "strong" nuclear force that binds protons and neutrons into nuclei, gravity, and the "weak" nuclear force that is manifested in radioactive decay.
The Standard Model still has some holes; it doesn't have a complete explanation of how gravity or so-called "dark" matter and energy fit in. Nevertheless, it has held up experimentally although there was one piece of evidence missing, the Higgs Boson. That is, until last Wednesday. On July 4th scientists at CERN announced that they have likely found the elusive particle (they're being very cautious--there's a one-in-3.5 million ("five sigma") chance that they haven't).
The discovery of the Higgs Boson is important because it validates the Standard Model, scientists say. We'd like to join the party, but someone still needs to explain in layman's terms why this is important to non-physicists, i.e. 99.99% of the world.
Over to you, Walt.