Einstein's Theory Predicts a Weird State of Matter. Could It Be Lurking in the World's Largest Atom Smasher?

livescience.com | 9/24/2019 | Tim Childers - Live Science Contributor
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The search narrows for a mysterious form of matter predicted from Einstein's theory of special relativity. After more than a decade of looking, scientists at the world's largest particle collider believe that they are on the verge of finding it.

But the researchers are not searching in the exploded guts of particles smashed together at nearly light speed.

Physicists - Large - Hadron - Collider - LHC

Instead, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile (27 kilometers) ring buried underground near the border between France and Switzerland, are looking for the missing matter, called a color glass condensate, by studying what happens when particles don't collide, but instead zoom past each other in near misses.


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In the Standard Model of physics, the theory which describes the zoo of subatomic particles, 98% of the visible matter in the universe is held together by fundamental particles called gluons. These aptly named particles are responsible for the force that glues together quarks to form protons and neutrons. When protons are accelerated to near the speed of light, a strange phenomenon occurs: The concentration of gluons inside them skyrockets.

Cases - Gluons - Pairs - Gluons - Energies

"In these cases, gluons split into pairs of gluons with lower energies, and such gluons split themselves subsequently, and so forth," Daniel Tapia Takaki, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, said in a statement. "At some point, the splitting of gluons inside the proton reaches a limit at which the multiplication of gluons ceases to increase. Such a state is known as the color glass condensate, a hypothesized phase of matter that is thought to exist in very high-energy protons and as well as in heavy nuclei."

According to Brookhaven National Laboratory, the condensate could explain...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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