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Building Blocks of the Universe

2. The Antiparticle and Units of Mass and Charge

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In this mini-lecture we introduce important concepts in particle physics, in particular: (i) the antiparticle, predicted by Paul Dirac in the 1930s; (ii) the commonly used unit of charge (e), which is the charge of a proton; (iii) the unit of energy called the electron volt (eV), which is the change in kinetic energy that an electron has when it is accelerated by one Volt (V), and how this can be converted into a mass using Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2; and (iv) the masses of various subatomic particles.


In this course, Professor David Berman (Queen Mary University of London) explores what the building blocks of the Universe are, that is, the elementary particles that make up everything in the world around us. In the first mini-lecture, we discuss the periodic table and how it is organised, various models of the atom, and nuclear fission and fusion. In the second mini-lecture, we introduce the antiparticle and clarify the units of charge and mass used in particle physics. In the third mini-lecture we discuss the Standard Model, in particular we look at quarks, leptons, and neutrinos. In the fourth mini-lecture, we turn towards particle physics experiments, including those done in the early days of particle physics as well as the more modern experiments, CERN and SuperK. The fifth mini-lecture delves into the experimental evidence for dark matter and dark energy, concluding with a look into String Theory, which provides a new approach to understanding the fundamental building blocks in nature: one-dimensional strings instead of point-like particles.


David Berman is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Queen Mary. His research interests include string theory and ideas in fundamental theoretical physics, including non-commutative geometry, black holes physics, and quantum gravity. He has contributed to the Radio 4 biography series Great Lives and the In Our Time podcasts, including Great Lives: Richard Feynman (2018), Great Lives: Galileo (2019), In Our Time: Emmy Noether (2019), and In Our Time: Paul Dirac (2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Berman, D. (2022, January 12). Building Blocks of the Universe - The Antiparticle and Units of Mass and Charge [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Berman, David. "Building Blocks of the Universe – The Antiparticle and Units of Mass and Charge." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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