How many elementary particles are thought to exist? © iStock

How many elementary particles are thought to exist?

The development of the Large Hadron Collider puts us one step closer to proving the existence of particles that shape the universe's fundamental forces.

Asked by: Alex, by email


Over 200 elementary particles have so far been seen in particle accelerators, though most are so unstable and short-lived that they can barely be said to exist at all. Within the next few years, physicists hope to start discovering a whole slew of new particles using the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. This gigantic underground machine has the power to find so-called supersymmetric partners of familiar particles such as the electron, which are predicted to exist by attempts to unify the fundamental forces of nature.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.