DATA: Hunting Quarks Online

Science  10 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5532, pp. 1019
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5532.1019d

In a first for the field of particle physics, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has unveiled a Web tool that lets anyone search 4 years' worth of data from the world's most powerful atom smasher. Between 1992 and 1996, the Chicago-area facility's D0 experiment recorded trillions of collisions between streams of protons and antiprotons, leading to the discovery of the top quark. Such data are not usually publicly released. However, physicists and students stalking still-hypothetical subatomic particles can now search the D0 database for the spoor of their ghostly quarry using a Web interface called Quaero. (Data from the current run of the accelerator may be posted in a few years.)

While waiting for search results—usually available within an hour—check out what's happening inside the lab's accelerator with this page of real-time graphics. Above, a spray of particles emanates from a head-on collision between matter and antimatter.

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