CERN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER 4 NEW PARTICLES
Patrick Koppenburg of the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics and Harry Cliff of the University of Cambridge say the discovery of four new particles by scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva may lead to more questions about the standard model of particle physics.
The LHC, Koppenburg and Cliff said in an article for EarthSky, has now found a total of 59 new particles, in addition to the Nobel prize-winning Higgs boson, since it started colliding protons – particles that make up the atomic nucleus along with neutrons – in 2009.
“One of its most troublesome features is its description of the strong force which holds the atomic nucleus together. The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons, which are in turn each composed of three tiny particles called quarks (there are six different kinds of quarks: up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom). If we switched the strong force off for a second, all matter would immediately disintegrate into a soup of loose quarks, a state that existed for a fleeting instant at the beginning of the universe. Don’t get us wrong: the theory of the strong interaction, pretentiously called ‘quantum chromodynamics,’ is on very solid footing. It describes how quarks interact through the strong force by exchanging particles called gluons. You can think of gluons as analogs of the more familiar photon, the particle of light and carrier of the electromagnetic force,” the authors stressed.
“However, the way gluons interact with quarks makes the strong force behave very differently from electromagnetism. While the electromagnetic force gets weaker as you pull two charged particles apart, the strong force actually gets stronger as you pull two quarks apart. As a result, quarks are forever locked up inside particles called hadrons – particles made of two or more quarks – which includes protons and neutrons, they added. Unless, of course, you smash them open at incredible speeds, as we are doing at CERN,” Koppenburg and Cliff said.