Category: Particles

  • Faster than light. In nothingness…

    Faster than light. In nothingness…

    It has long been known that charged particles, such as electrons and protons, produce the electromagnetic equivalent of a sonic boom when their speeds exceed that of photons in the surrounding medium. This effect, known as Cherenkov emission, is responsible for the characteristic blue glow from water in a nuclear reactor, and is used to […]

  • Longevity. Xenon 124. Universe.

    Longevity. Xenon 124. Universe.

    Theory predicts the isotope’s radioactive decay has a half-life that surpasses the age of the universe “by many orders of magnitude,” but no evidence of the process has appeared until now. An international team of physicists that includes three Rice University researchers – assistant professor Christopher Tunnell, visiting scientist Junji Naganoma and assistant research professor […]

  • Proton. Mass. Higgs. Phantoms of science.

    Proton. Mass. Higgs. Phantoms of science.

    A proton’s mass is more just than the sum of its parts. And now scientists know just what accounts for the subatomic particle’s heft. Protons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks, so you might expect that simply adding up the quarks’ masses should give you the proton’s mass. However, that sum is […]

  • Extra dimensions. Existence. Cosmos.

    This could be the way the world ends. First, a pair of cosmic protons smash together at unimaginable speeds. The tremendous energy of their crash would create a tiny, ephemeral black hole, so small that it would last just a fraction of a second before evaporating. Where the black hole just was, a bubble of […]

  • Made free… Only to be enslaved… Worms… Gods…

    Atoms are composed of electrons moving around a central nucleus they are bound to. The electrons can also be torn away, overcoming the confining force of their nucleus, using the powerful electric field of a laser. Half a century ago, the theorist Walter Henneberger wondered if it was possible to free an electron from its […]