Presenting faithfully a complex theory such as the Standard Model with only minimal mathematics is a daunting task. The Particle Adventure is a stunning success. This site elegantly brings to nonscience and also science students a basic understanding of the Standard Model of fundamental particles and interactions. The most impressive aspect of this work is its comprehensive scope. Particular features that stand out include:
The clickable, interactive particle chart is superb, as are the summary and history of particle physics linked to the home page.
The side-link regarding the discovery of the top quark is very interesting.
The presentation of the physics of scattering experiments is quite vivid and will help students understand a somewhat obscure subject.
There are a few physics statements in the Particle Adventure, due to its qualitative nature, that might require some explanation by an instructor. These include:
The links describing the major accelerators in the world are very useful.
In parts of the narrative, it is stated that physicists are fairly sure that quarks are fundamental, but then in others the possible composite nature of quarks is discussed.
The attraction between neutral atoms is labelled the "Residual E&M Force" and is not explained any further. Some students may understand this better if it is related to the interaction between dipoles.
The statement is made for fermions that "For reasons we do not fully understand, a consequence of the odd half-integer spin is that fermions obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle...". Instructors might explain that a deeper understanding comes from relativistic quantum mechanics and the Dirac equation.
General Comments on Quality: This site is a model of a well-written,
clear, but non-technical description of science. It is a result of a 12 year collaboration of eminent physicists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and high school and college teachers in the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP).