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What is/might be the basic component that makes up elementary particles (like electrons and quarks)? Is this the stuff concerned with “strings” (string theory)? Can anyone explain it in layman's terms?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What are the strings in string theory made of? $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Feb 15 '17 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ @John, were the answers you referred, supposed to be in layman's term? I highly doubt that it solved my problem. $\endgroup$ – user143929 Feb 15 '17 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ String theory hasn't been tested and we aren't sure if the theory is correct. The elementary particles are elementary. There is nothing smaller than them (at least for now). $\endgroup$ – Yashas Feb 15 '17 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ Please be more specific what you want to know - in standard quantum field theory, a particle is elementary if and only if it is not made out of anything. Like the atom was once thought to be indivisible, so are quarks and gluons and photons etc. today. The relation between particle states and string theory is not exactly straightforward, see e.g. this question. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Feb 15 '17 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Elixlami: note that my answer says: The question "what is xxx made of" is really asking "what can xxx be decomposed into"?. Elementary particles cannot by definition be decomposed into anything smaller, so it is meaningless to ask what they are made of. They aren't made of anything - they just are. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Feb 15 '17 at 13:20
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This is the table of elementary particles

enter image description here

The very successful theory , the standard model of particle physics, uses this table axiomatically, i.e. as a foundation stone of the theory. These are a distillation of measurements, and the answer is: they are point particles, i.e. not composite, and there is no further complexity.

String theory embeds the standard model in its mathematics. It changes the dimension from a point to a string, but still there is no complexity to the string. Each particle is assigned a vibrational niche on the equations of the vibrating string, and no extra compositional complexity to individual particles exists, even in string theories.

There have been proposals for complexity in the particles in the table, look at preons, they are off main stream research because of the success of the standard model approach. The particle data group lists the searches for limits of compositeness.

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