Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Amazing 'tetraneutrons' a fluke? 'That's ridiculously improbable.'

Heard about "tetraneutrons?" They're particles comprised of four neutrons, somehow "bound together in a way that defies the laws of physics." They were detected four years ago at a French particle accelerator. But they "should not exist." (New Scientist)

If they do exist, the "strong nuclear force" (
one of the four fundamental forces) as we know it is wrong, and we shouldn’t be here. "If you tweak the laws of physics to allow four neutrons to bind together, all kinds of chaos ensues." For one, elements formed after the big bang would have gotten so huge, they would have been "far too heavy for the cosmos to cope." One expert suggests "the universe would have collapsed before it had any chance to expand."

So was the observation of tetraneutrons a fluke? Did four neutrons happen to end up in the same place at the same time by coincidence, right when the French team made their observation? "That's ridiculously improbable." Also, there may be an "as yet unexplained forces" at work here. Scientists have theorized neutron stars are home to multiple-neutron particles. Perhaps the tetraneutron detection was a preview of what we'll discover after studying neutron stars in more detail.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.