The Oxford English Dictionary definition of particle is as follows:
"A component of the physical world smaller than the atom."
I read an article in NewScientist and it said
"...all particles from the atom to the electron..."
Now I'm assuming that since NewScientist is one of the leading science magazines, albeit slightly more of a simple read than others, it wouldn't make a mistake this obvious, so therefore am assuming that an atom is referred to as a particle in physics but I'm slightly sceptical. So:
- Is an atom a particle?
- If so, why? It doesn't fit the definition of a particle and I am sure that I have been told on multiple cases that a particle is the smallest form of composite matter.
And after all, how can a particle be made up of particles?
This brings me to a third question, so long as the answer to question 1 is "no":
- Does that mean that the proton and neutron aren't 'particles', but called something else? (only answer this question if question 1 has an answer of "no").