Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN have just discovered a particle that sheds an intriguing new light on the standard model of physics’ strong force. One of the researchers, Paul Soler, describes the discovery as opening “a new frontier in understanding the strong force.”
The strong force was proposed to explain something that seemed like it should happen but doesn’t. Atomic nuclei are largely made up of particles called “hadrons”: neutrons and protons, and electrons, each of which has a characteristic electrical charge. Protons are positive, electrons are negative, and neutrons are neutral. But why don’t positively charged protons repel each other and cause nuclei to fly apart? A force, the “strong” force, must be holding them together.
Since that original finding, it’s been discovered that the strong force also holds together the smaller particles, quarks, from which protons and neutrons are constructed. (Electrons are comprised of another particle type, leptons.)
Protons and neutrons are made up of baryons, sets of three quarks containing light quarks, along with, at most, one heavy quark.
In July 2017, LHC researchers announced at the EPS Conference on High Energy Physics in Venice the detection of a new kind of baryon they’ve named “Ξcc++” (pronounced Ksi-C-C-plus-plus) as part of the Large Hadron Collider “beauty” experiment (LHCb) looking at the…
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