Accelerators and particle detectors > How do we know any of this? > Testing a theory
Testing a theory
We have discussed various aspects of the Standard Model and have delved deep into the
world of tiny, invisible subatomic particles with strange names. All of this scientific
theory may start to look like magic, but it's important to realize that physicists do not
just sit around and make up this stuff. They test their hypotheses, and create new
theories from the results of their experiments.
To test theories, physicists put together experiments and use what
they already know to find out what they do not know. These
experiments may be simple, or they may be huge and complicated.
The Standard Model rises out of thousands of years of scientific inquiry, but most of the
experiments that have given rise to our current conception of particle physics have occurred
relatively recently. The story of how physicists experiment to test and create
theories in modern particle physics is one which starts less than a hundred years ago...