This chapter starts with a few words about the reader’s expected prior knowledge of subatomic physics and quantum mechanics. It is made clear that while relativistic quantum mechanics is introduced and used, the use of relativistic quantum field theory or Lagrangian methods is avoided, apart from a few sections in the chapter on the Higgs mechanism. Natural units are defined, with energies measured in multiples of electron volts (eV). Particles (leptons and quarks) are introduced, with hadrons as composite particles of qqˉ (meson) or qqq (baryon) states. The fundamental forces of the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions are introduced, followed by the idea of electroweak unification. The importance of symmetry and the use of group theory are summarized. The chapter ends with an outline of the book’s structure and how it may be read, depending on the prior knowledge or needs of the reader.
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