Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons

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Science  22 Jun 1962:
Vol. 136, Issue 3521, pp. 1013-1022
DOI: 10.1126/science.136.3521.1013


In concluding this discussion it may be appropriate to return to the theme introduced earlier and raise the question once again of the deeper, and possibly philosophical, meaning of the term "elementary" particle. As we have seen, the proton and neutron, which were once thought to be elementary particles, are now seen to be highly complex bodies. It is almost certain that physicists will subsequently investigate the constituent parts of the proton and neutron—the mesons of one sort or another. What will happen from that point on? One can only guess at future problems and future progress, but my personal conviction is that the search for ever-smaller and ever-more-fundamental particles will go on as long as man retains the curiosity he has always demonstrated (29).