Quantum chromodynamics theory predicts that under certain circumstances, gluons themselves can stick together briefly to form composite particles called glueballs.
To help guide the search for glueballs, Weingarten and his coworkers turned to a simplification of quantum chromodynamics.
A calculation that took 2 years on a powerful special-purpose computer has provided evidence that a hypothesized subnuclear particle called a glueball actually exists.
Soon after, they calculated that the lightest glueball would have a mass (expressed in energy units) of about 1,707 megaelectronvolts (MeV).
To determine whether such a glueball would stick together long enough to be observed in a particle accelerator, the researchers calculated the glueball's rate of decay into different combinations of other particles.