(Wired) Pentaquarks Have Physicists Psyched””And Baffled

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have been smashing protons together, on and off, since 2009. On Tuesday they announced that they’d encountered a new particle as a result of all those subatomic crack-ups called the pentaquark””and it could help explain what holds together other subatomic particles like protons and neutrons.

Close followers of the saga responded to the news like hungry Star Wars fans to a new trailer, immediately formulating potential plotlines for the particle. Within 30 hours of the announcement, physicists began to submit their theories about the pentaquark to the online, pre-peer review science article repository arXiv. But assembling those papers is hard””and these scientists didn’t come up with their new theories overnight. How did they get it done so fast? As is wont to happen with any big reveal, somebody in the research team leaked the inside scoop.

“Despite everyone’s good intentions, rumors do spread,” says Guy Wilkinson, the spokesperson for the LHCb (that stands for Large Hadron Collider Beauty experiment), the research team that found the particle in several years worth of data. The leak isn’t surprising, considering the team consists of over 1,100 members from 16 different countries.

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One comment on “(Wired) Pentaquarks Have Physicists Psyched””And Baffled

  1. Katherine says:

    Well, his intentions are good, so there’s something. I was surprised to learn in Egypt that observant Copts fast more than Muslims do. They not only don’t eat or drink during the daylight hours of their fasts, they don’t feast at night as their Muslim neighbors do during Ramadan. Christian fasts, whether lengthy or brief, are usually tied to some liturgical season based on the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Lord, or on a special fast for a specific prayer need. Ramadan, on the other hand, comes from a pre-Islamic Arab custom having no particular Islamic theological significance, although various reasons and disciplines are proposed by various groups. Basically, it’s an exercise in Islamic identity, which is why many Muslims will fast even though they don’t pray or perform the Hajj. Mr. Cook’s motives and thinking seem to me a bit fuzzy.