The biggest problem I find is that you can't just start with "What's a quark?" A lot of this stuff came about because the math

*demanded* it exist. Like, you have to start with Maxwell, who's work pretty much destroyed Atomism. In a sense, the Standard Model started there, because in order to explain the implications of Maxwell, you need Dirac fucking around with Schrodinger's model in order to reletavize it, which means instead of a single ampletude/phase pair, you needed a

*four component array*, which led to "spin", but also that an additional particle was needed, the positron.

So, they didn't say, "hey, what's this thing over here?" they were all, "the only way this equation works is if there's something out there." And the implications of the positron meant there are other anti-particles. And in order to describe this, they needed to use another dimension (mathematically. This ain't Dr Who). That led to the idea of Isospin, and some new kinds of forces acting upon it. And all of

*That* implied smaller things that made up the proton and neutron. And so on.

In a way, none of the Standard Model makes any sense until you can answer the question of "What is the Standard Model trying to solve?"

The Standard Model is a conceptual structure, a set of ideas, in which a small number of fundamental things appears in terms of which all else may be accounted for. But those fundamental things are not related simply to objects we can weigh or deflect in the laboratory. *Each "elementary particle" we actually observe is a combination of all the pieces of the Standard Model*, just as the observable bits of matter in Maxwell's the-ory are part charged matter and part electromagnetic field.