skip to main content

Title: A new form of strange matter and new hope for finding it

Deep in the dense cores of collapsed stars even atoms don't survive. The force of gravity crushes them into particle mushes weighing megatons per teaspoon. But even these alien forms of matter don't hold a candle to another possible end product of a collapsing star: something physicists justifiably call strange matter. This strangeness comes from an exotic particle not associated with ordinary matter: the strange quark. It belongs to a six-member quark family, along with up, down, charm, top, and bottom, each of which carries a different combination of charge and mass. The only ones that make up matter as we know it are up and down quarks, but in theory, matter could form out of strange quarks as well. In nature, it would turn up most probably in interiors of collapsed stars. Scientists originally imagined strange matter as a sort of disorganized mixed bag of strange quarks, but this summer a group proposed that the quarks could form a sort of mutant atomic nucleus that could conceivably grow to the size of a star. For the moment this is speculation, but it may not be theoretical musing for long. Physicists are preparing to try making strange matter here onmore » Earth, in experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and Switzerland's CERN, next summer.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5144582
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Science (Washington, D.C.); (United States); Journal Volume: 262:5131
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; QUARKS; PRODUCTION; STRANGE PARTICLES; QUARK MATTER; ELEMENTARY PARTICLES; FERMIONS; MATTER; POSTULATED PARTICLES 662440* -- Properties of Other Particles Including Hypothetical Particles-- (1992-)