New "Beauty Bayron" Particle Discovered by Large Hadron Collider
As the world's largest particle collider reaches higher energy levels, scientists can better understand how the Universe's constituent particles formed just after the big bang.
What's the Latest Development?
Late last week, scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider, the world's most powerful atom smasher, confirmed they had discovered an entirely new particle. After some 530 million rounds of colliding subatomic particles at extremely high energies, scientists saw umistakable evidence of a new 'beauty baryon'. Baryons, which are made of three quarks, form the building blocks of neutrons and protons that populate the nuclei of atoms. "It's just the second new particle to be discovered at the atom smasher, which opened at the CERN physics laboratory in Geneva in 2008."
What's the Big Idea?
The LHC operates at such high energy levels that physicists can peer further and further back into the physical past. By approximating the amount of energy present in the Universe just after the big bang, scientists seek to understand how the basic elements of our Universe formed. The new 'beauty baryon', like other primitive subatomic particles, only sustains itself for fractions of a second before decaying into other kinds of particles more present in today's Universe. This year, physicists hope to confirm or debunk theories of supersymmetry and the existence of the Higgs particle.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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