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Generated : 16th June 2024


Brenda Greaver

Please 5th grader is learning about the metric system and decimals. I seem to remember a song or story to help keep things in place. Do you have any ideas?

Thank you in advance for your help.

KryssTal Reply: Hello,

What age is 5th grade? This is a north American term not used in Europe (where I am). Once I know the age I can respond appropriately.

I know of no songs but I remember the prefixes because of my Classical education (Greek, Latin). Let me know how old the child is and I'll see what I can do.

Thank you for responding. She is 10 and in an advanced class. Our kids start school when they are 5 and that is called kindergarten, then the go on to 1st through 12th. My daughter is in a 5/6 combination class.

Kindergarten through 6th grade is called elementary school, 7th and 8th is middle school, and 9th through 12th is high school. How does your educational system separate the kids?

Once again, thank you for your help.

KryssTal Reply: We begin in nursery school (your kindergarten). The first school from 5 to 11 is called Primary School. from 12 to 18 is Secondary School.


Amy Schlunegger
Sophmore (Whittier Christian High School)

To Whom It May Concern,

First, I would like to thank you for taking time to read this. I am doing a research report on the subatomic structure of atoms, mainly exotic mesons. I was able to gather a lot of information from your website that was very helpful, but I was wondering if you could answer some specific questions:

1. if you have any diagrams of a complete subatomic structure
2. if scientists believe there are more particles undiscovered
3. what the main difference between exotic mesons and mesons is
4. how do scientists research and what do they learn from their experiments

Any information will be greatly appriciated. Thank you for your time.

KryssTal Reply: Hello Amy.

I see you are a SOPHOMORE.

Now, I live in the UK (England) and we don't use the word "sophomore" here at all. However, we do get a lot of television programs from North America and the word is very common. So my question to you is:

What exactly IS a sophomore?

I know you are from North America by the use of the term "High School". In England it would be a "Secondary School". Isn't language wonderful?

Now to your questions. Firstly, thank you for your kind comments. The subject of subatomic particles is indeed a tricky one.

1. The world of the very small is very difficult to picture so diagrams are not all that helpful. There is, however, a sub-atomic version of the periodic table used in chemistry where the particles themselves are classified. A search on this might prove fruitful.

2. As far as I am aware the number of missing particles depends on which theory the scientists are looking at. There are things now called STRING THEORIES. These are attempting to predict the structure of matter and the existence of the subatomic particles from first principles. There are a number of web sites covering this topic but it is on the edge of science so there is little agreement. It is also quite difficult to understand or picture.

3. The word "exotic" is a subjective one. Generally speaking, a normal particle is found in normal matter but exotic particles tend to be found only under extreme conditions, such as the laboratory or the early universe.

4. Much research on subatomic particles is done is huge devices called ACCELERATORS. One of the largest is in Switzerland and is called CERN. Particles are accelerated and smashed into each other. The forces and energies generated often produce "exotic" particles which can be studied by their movements under magnetic and electric fields and other properties.

What do they learn? This is a difficult question because often in science, you do not know what you are going to find or what use it will be. An example occurred in the 1860s. An eclipse of the sun occurred which was observed with a spectroscope. This determines what atoms are present from a glowing gas. The spectrum was analysed and it was found that the atoms present on the earth were present on the sun also. But there was one new atom unknown on the earth. This was named "helium" after the Greek word for "Sun". 40 years later, this substance was found on the earth. It is now used as a gas for under-sea divers because it stops them getting "the bends" which can be a killer.

I hope this has been helpful.

Incidentally, where are you located on that vast north American continent?

First of all, thank you for the reply, the information was very helpful.

I live in Southern California in the United States. That is really cool that you live in the UK. I thought you were from the US so when you wrote that you lived in London I was suprised. lol. Next, year I am going on a Europe trip with my school and I think we are going to london. To your question on what a sophmore is, in high schools or 'secondary schools', in the US a sophmore is your second year of high school.(10th grade). I am not sure how the European school system works but in High School in America the grades are divided like this:

1st year - Freshman (9th grade)
2nd year - Sophmore (10th grade)
3rd year - Junior (11th grade)
4th year - Senior (12th grade)

Thats pretty much how our school system works. So, what do you do in the UK? Thank you again for the information. It is very helpful. Have a good day! bye.

KryssTal Reply: Ahh California.

We've been following your governor elections here with much amusement. We've been trying to imagine one of our actors going around trying to get elected.

"To be or not to be,
That is the question.
And it's also the promise of my party if I get elected"

"Is that a knife I see before me,
The handle turned towards my hand?
Or is it the policies of the opposing party?"

I leave it to you as an exercise to find the origins of the above (Shakespearean) speeches before I mangled them.

Guess what - we don't use grades either. If you can send me a list of grades with their ages I will publish that information as it's a source of confusion.

If you come to London, bring your umbrella and something warm to wear. The three links to pages on my website (below) may prove useful:

London tourist tips (for North Americans): ../tourist.html
Differences between UK and USA English: ../ukandusa.html
London (Cockney) English: ../cockney.html

Good luck with your studies....


Keiana Daniel

Dear Kryss,

Your information on your website were very helpful to me in a study of mesons and other particles of atoms. it was an simple way of describing such complicated ideas, and im very happy about that. ur site wasnt like all the rest which are just a bunch of nonsensical vocabulry that very few understand. please reply back if and when u receive this message.

sincerely, a science kid.

KryssTal Reply: Thanks you for your kind comments. I hope that your studies of this fascinating universe have been inspired.

Good luck.



I'm looking for the name of the sub-atomic particle that brings pure energy into the physical universe on the cellular level. If you could help that would be great. Thanks.

KryssTal Reply: Thank you for writing.

I'm afraid I don't know of such a particle. The cellular level is many millions of times larger than the sub-atomic level.


Michael Pavledis

Hello Kryss

Have read your valuable information with great interest. Please tell me ---

Do we get a dipole when fermions and bosons link together?

What I am trying to do is directly relate the forces and energy within an atom of Hydrogen to that within the black hole that started it all. Have a happy day wishes from Perth in Australia where the weather is always perfect.


KryssTal Reply: Hello Mike (or should I say "Yia sou, Michali" or perhaps "g'day")

When Fermions and Bosons link together you get an interaction between Fermions that can be interpreted as a force acting between them. Bosons are the force carriers.

Hope that helps.

How are the stars in the Southern Hemisphere. I saw the Southern Cross a couple of months back in southern Africa.

Yia sou Kryss,

I am a very stupid Australian who has no Math and every thing else is double dutch or greek . No speakeda! Thank you for your prompt reply and of course when I look at the Southern cross tonight I shall conjure up some funny face with a bug nose and stary bright eyes and say hello to Kryss.

I am what we call in Oz, an ancient old fart who has lived for tooo long with one wife (over fifty years) She bullies me tooo much with tooo much love. See me smiling --- good!

Will send you a copy of my new idea which will earn me the Nobel prize for Science before the end of next year when it will be completed. Unfortunately I shall miss the Olympics --- I cant run so fast these days --- should say swim!!

How would you describe a point of space in terms of energy?

H-h-have a great Greek Easter. Break a plate for me.


John Henry

Thank you for your explanation of quantum mechanics and the theory of relkativity, I found it very helpful and informative to get a summarized idea regarding what these concepts mean from a laymens perspective. A highschool student could understand it, and propably most people who have little or no undestanding about physics.

Please dont think that I have fully grasped it but enough for me to conceptulize it with what I know. I would like to ask you about some things you explained regarding quantum mechanics.

In the second to last paragraph you said "This implies that there is a built-in uncertainty in the Universe. It is possible for something to be created out of nothing, given enough time!"

What does this mean? What can evolve out of nothing with respect to time? What can time do in regard to creation? Is this from the evolution position that things came about through millions of years? I find it difficult to undestand how someting can come from nothing.

Thank you for your time.

KryssTal Reply: Thank you for your kind comments.

The uncertainty principal lists certain pairs of quantities. If one is known well the other isn't.

Velocity and position is one such pair. The better you know velocity the more uncertain position is. Time and Energy is another pair. If the time is very tiny then there is a large uncertainty in the energy. This allows small mass particles to exist for short periods of time. These are called virtual particles. These particles exist in the nuclei of atoms for small periods and bind the nucleus together.

It's all difficult to understand. There's a book called "Mr Tomkinson" about a man who lives in a universe where the speed of light is 20 miles per hour and the uncertainty principal is noticeable in the macro world.

Good luck.


Klaas de Wit


The remaining particles after a neutron-beta-decay are:

proton, electron and electron-anti-neutrino. Not electron-neutrino. See

for a simple explination. Greetings.

KryssTal Reply: Of course you are correct - well spotted. I will change it. Thanks.


Xinzhu City Taiwan 2002 10 24

Dear Sir,

As I looked through your comprehensive chart of units and symbols, I found a couple of errors. As a language teacher in Asia and former SI instructor in Canada, I need to emphasize the essence of SI:

world-wide uniformity. The correct grouping of large numbers by three digits is as follows:

3 845 782

and not


(the comma is used for decimal marker in Europe).

There is only one correct spelling for the unit of length: m metre as prescribed by the Systeme Internationale d'Unites or SI. Meter in the English language is a gauge or measuring device, as in speedometer, thermometer, parking meter etc.

It is hoped that my correction will be viewed as an act of goodwill, not as an attempt to undermine your otherwise admirable effort to enlighten your clients.


KryssTal Reply: Thank you (Xie Xie)

You are correct about the comma being a decimal marker in Europe. In England and the USA, however, the decimal is the "full stop" or "dot" (which the Americans call the "period").

I will take your comments on board to make my page more international.


where did you go to college.

by the way, theres an obvious error in relativity. you might be interested in knowing..

KryssTal Reply: Hello there.

Carry on I would be interested.

My college was University of North London in (yes) London.

i submitted a paper to the european journal of physics, it is now under review with the amercian journal, im not ready to just give it away.

i have a question, did you major in physics?

KryssTal Reply: Mr A King,

Good luck with your paper. I look forward to seeing it when it's published. I "majored" (a very North American term that - are you from the USA?) in Chemistry.

yes i am.



Hello, I'm new at all this quantum stuff, and am reading your article because I've always been interested in it, but could never get through the math. Thank you for explaining it in easy to understand terms, but I do have one question.

In explaining Einsteins theory, you stated that the speed of light is constant, yet speed itself is relative. How can this be?

It's probably a stupid question, but if you could answer it for me, I'd be grateful. I might even be able to delve into the world of quantum throry and even try to understand some of the basic math! (Not likely, but.....)

Thanks for your time.

KryssTal Reply: Hello and thank you for your kind comments.

You are correct: speed is relative. But all observers who measure the speed of light will always get the same value.

© 2024, KryssTal