News of the WeekHigh-Energy Physics

Wayward Particles Collide With Physicists' Expectations

Science  25 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5594, pp. 718-719
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5594.718

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EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN-- At a meeting here last week, researchers announced results that, so far, nobody can explain. By slamming gold atoms together at nearly the speed of light, the physicists hoped to make gold nuclei melt into a novel phase of matter called a quark-gluon plasma. But although the experiment produced encouraging evidence that they had succeeded, it also left them struggling to account for the behavior of the particles that shoot away from the tremendously energetic smashups.