Nishant Malhotra Founder of Middle Road OPC Pvt Ltd & The middle Road platform on the evolving Sustainable Finance sector

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Elementary Particles: Building Blocks of Our Universe


“Electrical charge can neither be created or destroyed. Energy is neither created nor destroyed.”

This article has been elaborated and reworded to my previous article here. The article shares a brief overview of the quantum world of elementary particles the building blocks of our Universe. The report further discusses Bose-Einstein Statistics, Markov theorem, Brownian movement, and its application in pricing options in finance.

There are four fundamental forces in nature i.e. in our Universe: Gravity, Electromagnetism, The Strong Force, and The Weak Force.  Electromagnetic Force makes our television and mobiles work while Strong and Weak Forces are prevalent over subatomic distances. Strong Force, the most potent force in nature, binds nuclei together while the Weak Force is primarily responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions over subatomic distances. Gravitational Force, on the contrary to popular opinion, is not a strong force. The fact that one can jump in the air with Earth exerting its pull exemplifies this point of view.

Nature of our Universe: Elementary Particles

About 96% of the human body is made up of Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen. Hydrogen and Helium are the elements which build the atomic mass of our Universe. Hydrogen and Helium atoms make up 99.8 % of all the atoms and 98% of all atomic mass in the Universe. An atom has protons and neutrons in its nucleus with electrons orbiting around it. Protons and neutrons have the same weight, but weigh much more than that of electrons. The number of protons decides the elementary characteristics of the elements on the periodic table.

Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen atoms play a fundamental role in burning fat. “The chemical equation of human fat C55H104O6 decomposes into Carbon and Oxygen. Check out the video here. 

Mass of electrons is negligible compared to the mass of protons and neutrons. Mass, measured by mass of atoms in the body, equals the mass of protons and neutrons combined. Mass is constant while weight changes according to the gravitation pull of the planet.

                                                    “Gravity is the effect of curvature in our Universe”

The movies Interstellar and The Martian are good examples of how weights can vary in different planets. The scene below from the movie Interstellar depicts the concept of time dilation (discussed below) and the effect of gravity on time and weight. One hour on Miller planet represents 7 hours on Earth.

From Fission to Fusion

Atoms are not elementary particles since elementary particlAtom: Elementary Particlees are subatomic particles which have no particle inside and cannot be further broken down. Electrons are elementary particles while quarks (elementary particles) make up proton and neutrons. Atoms are usually neutrally charged, but atoms with different protons and electrons are known as ions. Lighter atoms i.e., atoms with lighter nuclei protons are equal to neutrons while for more significant nuclei number of protons differ from those of neutrons.

For example, Uranium has 146 neutrons and 92 protons, which makes it very unstable, an elementary quality used for nuclear fission. Fission occurs for very heavy nuclei with mass numbers higher than 250 and produces particles of uneven mass. Nuclear Fission is very different from Nuclear Fusion, which is fusing hydrogen atoms to form Helium.

The Sun burns up half a billion tons of Hydrogen per second to blend into Helium. Helium gets its origin from the word Helios, a Greek word for the Sun.  Fusion combines two atoms of Hydrogen to form an atom of Helium. In the process, energy is released with wholesome byproducts like carbon, oxygen, etc. which are present in stars, planets. Fusion works at very high temperature; Sun has 5726° C. Apart from the high temperature for synthesizing fusion, Strong Force works for the process of fusion. Today, science is working on effectively harnessing fusion for energy and will become a game-changer going forward in the energy space.

Elementary Particles

Elementary Particles, he building blocks of our Universe, are considered the smallest particles in nature which cannot be broken down further. Fermions and Boson. Fermions are the building blocks of matter (Quarks, Leptons) while Bosons are forces mediating interaction among forces (Fermions). Bosons are also known as force particles, and maybe the Force is with you. Anti-Matter, another elementary particle, are opposites in characteristics to their partner particle but have the same mass.

Fermions consist of a set of twelve particles which includes six quarks and six leptons. Quarks take part in Strong Force while leptons do not. The six quarks are up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. I swear these are not exercises, and I have no intention to charm my readers, but their names sound a bit strange. Six types of leptons are electrons, muon, tau all having a negative charge: -1 while neutrinos have no electric charge. The force between any pair of particle arises because they exchange another type of particle called a Boson. Bosons are gauge bosons, gluons, photons, W+, W-, Z^0, and HIGGS Boson.  Gluons are the forces mediating strong forces, and all electromagnetic waves are photons: bundles of energy while W+, W-, Z^0 mediate weak forces.

Comparative Chart of Force and Strength

This chart compares the four forces, elementary particles in our Universe and Nature. The Weak Force is equated to 1; the rest are approximate weights relative to Weak Force.


Force Force particle                                            Mass Comparative Strength of Force Weak=1
Strong Gluon 0 10,000
Electromagnetic Photon 0 100
Weak Guage Bosons 8697 1
Gravity Graviton 0 7*10^-34

Source: The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene & Einstein For Everyone By Robert Piccioni

The Strong Force as discussed before, holds the quarks and nucleus together. Electromagnetic Force contains atoms, molecules, and bodies together while Weak Force pertains to radioactive decay. The weakest force, among all, is the Gravitational Force since it mediates at infinite distances. Gravity plays a pivotal role in the Einstein theory of relativity and for understanding the concept of time dilation. Refer to the video shared here on my Twitter. Gravity holds the planets, defines the elliptical path of orbits, etc. and holds everyone to Earth while it spins on its axis and around Sun. In a nutshell, Gravity is the effect of curvature in our Universe. Check out Cosmos documentary.

An interesting feature of the particles is their chaotic, unpredictable nature of transiting discrete energy states. To understand the nature of the particles better, it’s imperative we look at Bose-Einstein Statistics and the Markov Theory.

Bose-Einstein Statistics and the Markov Theory


Do not be Fooled by Randomness.

Bosons, named after the great Indian scientist Satyanarendra Bose, along with Einstein proposed Bose-Einstein statistics. The theory suggests how a group of identical but non-interacting particles may occupy different energy states without following Pauli’s exclusion principle. The uncertainty and unpredictability of laws of physics at the quantum level unlike gravitational theories baffled Einstein till his death.

To understand the discrete nature of particles and chaos at the quantum level, let’s refer to Einstein’s ground-breaking paper on Brownian motion. Investigations on The Theory of the Brownian Movement delves into the movement of pollen grains and the molecular kinetic theory of heat. The theory forms the foundation of random walk theory used in valuing options in finance. Brownian motion forms the basis of stochastic processes, which is also the underlying assumption behind the option pricing in the Black Scholes Merton model. A variable (not to be confused with the particle in quantum mechanics), whose value changes over time in an uncertain way both continuous or discretely follows a stochastic process.

The Markov Theory

Markov theory proposes predicting future pricing trends or outcomes. The theory emphasizes that the probabilistic result of the price in the future is independent of any path taken in the past for pricing. The transition from one state to another would form a Markov chain which would look like a matrix of outcomes with a probabilistic result for each state of change. Time-series statistical data of stocks are taken to understand this principle to normalize it on a bell curve.

Normalization Simplified

For normalizing any data, the data must be independent and identically distributed (i.i.d). The data must have more than 40 observations, with equal probability of random selection, and the sample constitutes less than 10 percent of the population. The little brief on the stochastic process is an analogy on impermanence governing both our lives and processes at a subatomic level.

Impermanence at Quantum Level Exemplified: Sting Theory and Theory of Everything

String Theory mathematically proves that the smallest subatomic elementary particles are strings. These strings move as sources of energies which continuously vibrate as strings. M Theory, also known as Super String Theory, encapsulated many string theories to come out with 11 dimensions in this Universe. String theory is known as Theory of Everything, encapsulates laws of physics at both macro and quantum level. Theory of Everything builds on Grand Unified Theory, which unifies the three gauge interactions: electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces at high energy levels into a single force. Theory of Everything unifies even gravity along with the other forces into an only force. The equations in the proposed Theory of Everything will describe all-natural laws governing our Universe i.e., laws of physics, chemistry, biochemistry you name it.

Strings due to their infinitesimally small size have yet to be observed although experimental work through bombarding elementary particles at large Large Hadron Collider. Remember discovery of Higgs Boson, an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics which caused a sensation worldwide.



Theory of Everything, which builds on String Theory, is a landmark achievement in Theoretical Physics of the late. Scientists esp. theoretical physicists struggled to define a theory which would combine laws of physics to give a semblance. It’s a significant theory in theoretical physics and for details refer to Brian Greene (TED talks) and articles. One day, hopefully not far from now we will be able to experimentally observe the elementary particles, and how they govern laws of nature within our Universe.

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