Scientists discover new kind of particle: the pentaquark

Updated 14 July 2015

Scientists discover new kind of particle: the pentaquark

GENEVA: Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland have discovered a new kind of particle called the pentaquark, they announced Tuesday.
Physicists had theorized the existence of the pentaquark since the 1960s, but had never been able to prove it until its detection by the LHCb experiment at the LHC, the world’s most powerful particle smasher.
The discovery of the pentaquark comes after the LHC was used in 2012 to prove the existence of another particle, the Higgs Boson, which confers mass.
LHCb spokesman Guy Wilkinson said the pentaquark represented a way to combine quarks — the sub-atomic particles that make up protons and neutrons — “in a pattern that has never been observed before in over 50 years of experimental searches.”
He added: “Studying its properties may allow us to understand better how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we’re all made, is constituted.”
The LHC cranked back up again in June after a two-year upgrade, with scientists hailing a “new era” in their quest to unravel more mysteries of the Universe.
The new tests at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have twice the energy levels they had during the last three-year experiment phase, when the existence of the Higgs Boson was confirmed.
Four laboratories are located along the LHC’s ring-shaped tunnel around a hundred meters underground, where scientists analyze collisions between particles moving at close to the speed of light.
The LHCb, one of the four experiments, is focused on understanding the differences between matter and anti-matter and analyzing certain quarks.
“Our understanding of the structure of matter was revolutionized in 1964 when American physicist, Murray Gell-Mann, proposed that a category of particles known as baryons, which includes protons and neutrons, are comprised of three fractionally charged objects called quarks,” CERN said in a statement.
Gell-Mann, who won the Nobel Physics Prize in 1969, further proposed another category of particles, mesons, formed of “quark-antiquark” pairs.
His model allowed for the existence of other quark combinations — such as pentaquarks, which are composed of four quarks and an antiquark. But no conclusive evidence for pentaquarks had been seen until now.
The LHCb experiment changed the game by allowing scientists to “look for pentaquarks from many perspectives,” CERN said.
The findings have been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.
The next stage of the research will focus on studying how the quarks are bound together within the pentaquarks, the nuclear laboratory added.


“Keep jumping in puddles,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Supplied)
Updated 21 June 2020

“Keep jumping in puddles,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says

  • Ithra Talks host renowned American scientist to speak on wonders of universe and the curiosity behind discovery

JEDDAH: Science fans in Saudi Arabia and the region tuned in to a talk about exploring the wonders of the world with one of TV’s favorite scientists on Saturday.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) held the second installment of its digital speaker series, “Ithra Talks” live on its YouTube channel with Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, planetary scientist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

It was hosted by Ali Al-Bahrani of the Eureka Show podcast.

Topics in the session ranged from extraterrestrials, black holes, multiverses, COVID-19, education and curiosity. It included a debate on Star Trek vs Star Wars — Tyson is a true Trekkie who believes that the show made a real attempt to portray real physics — and the talk provided a glimpse into his world as a scientist and fan of pop culture.

His journey into the world of astrophysics began at the age of 9; he visited the sky theater at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and couldn’t believe that the sky could hold billions of stars. He thought it was a hoax at the time but grew curious and has been “hooked ever since.”

“I realized the immensity of that (space) and I realized we didn’t know what came before the universe and what comes after. All these questions started coursing in my head and then I realized that we don’t have the answers to many of those questions. I wanted to be on the frontier anticipating the art of discovery,” he said.

A regular on talk shows as well as guest appearances on programs such as “The Universe,” “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” and cameos on the CBS hit show, “The Big Bang Theory,” he also hosts a weekly show, “Star Talk.” During the science, pop culture and comedy show, he chats with celebrities and scientists on topics ranging from neuroscience to the DNA of world’s top athletes. The show is a way for Tyson to delve into the world of physics with a wider audience.

Co-hosted by comedian Chuck Nice, the show’s Q&A episode, “Cosmic Queries,” has received wide acclaim since its launch in 2009.

As part of the discussion, Tyson and Al-Bahrani spoke about education and current teaching approaches and how this differed from a decade ago. They touched on ways to keep a child interested and how to feed a curious mind: “Keep jumping in puddles,” have fun exploring the world and always keep in mind that today’s methods of communication have a more far-reaching effect than ever before.

Tyson spoke about the importance of allowing scientists to provide useful and life-saving recommendations as the COVID-19 pandemic affected the globe on an unprecedented scale. He weighed in by lightly mentioning that it was important to trust the facts and the people behind them as they have done extensive research in their fields.

The astrophysicist explained scientific happenings with wit, good humor and charisma while throwing comic jabs at conspiracy theorists. Tyson has helped science to regain its prominence at a time where many young minds have turned away from the beauty that is science.

Influenced by Carl Sagan and Isaac Newton, and as host of the hit series “Cosmos,” Tyson ended the talk answering viewer’s Q&A session on pop culture, adding science to the mix.

“You encounter a combination of needs that you haven’t before. This “out of balance” forces me to be more inventive about how to use my time,” he said.

Tyson concluded by saying that one of the keys to progress is to experiment, stay inquisitive and continue asking questions. “A scientist is a child who has never lost his curiosity into adulthood,” he said.

The talk can be found on Ithra’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHMf2WSOAag