Quantum physics is one of the most profound and radical scientific theories ever conceived. It is not a theory of a particular system; it is a set of universal principles that apply to all of nature. And it is tremendously successful both because of its versatility and its precision. We start by contrasting the particle concept in the Newtonian paradigm and its quantum descendant that exhibits particle-wave duality. In the following parts we make the quantum descent into matter highlighting the novel features that emerge. We discuss the hierarchy from atoms down to the quarks and leptons of the Standard Model and even to superstrings. Along the way we encounter many properties that derive from the concept of quantum fields and their interactions, such as quantum spin, statistics, and antimatter. We mention the notion of color and flavor symmetries and their breaking as well as the meaning of mass in relation to the Higgs particle. Unveiling the physics of the smallest scales often leads to radically new universal insights, but it is especially rewarding because it links the physics of the smallest scales with the physics of the largest scales through that singular cosmic event called the Big Bang.
Sander Bais is emeritus professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Amsterdam and External Professor of the Santa Fe Institute in the US. He studied in Delft and got his PhD from the University of California. He has a broad interest and made research contributions varying from (astro) particle physics to string theory, from quantum information to condensed matter physics. He is well known advocate for the natural sciences in the broad sense and has written a number of popular science books with translations in more than 15 languages.