Jeremy Drake of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics explains in the Harvard Gazette that, "If strange quark
matter really exists, it implies that normal matter is not ultimately stable.
The charm and strange quarks
, along with the muon and the muon-neutrino, occupy the second generation.
Nuclei containing one or more strange quarks
are called hypernuclei.
The 1964 discovery of a particle made of three strange quarks
was the landmark that established the mathematical basis for what would become the theory of quarks, says physicist Michael Peskin of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif.
A resulting quark star, for example, would consist of up and down quarks, which make up protons and neutrons, and also strange quarks
, which are heavier and not found in ordinary matter.
The scientists have often created baryons containing two and even three strange quarks
, but no one had ever detected a baryon containing more than one charm quark, at least no one thought so.
However, if bubbles in the cooling quark-gluon plasma are large enough, and if they chill in just the right way, some of the plasma might condense into hypothetical blobs dubbed strange matter because they contain many so-called strange quarks
(SN: 3/4/89, p.
Exotic models, in which squeezed neutrons and protons transform into more compressible material, such as a fluid of strange quarks
, would then become far more plausible.
Recent experimental searches for evidence of strangeness in the proton imply that strange quarks
carry an appreciable fraction of the particle's spin.
For example, the WA97 group, led by Emanuele Quercigh of CERN, furnished convincing evidence that far more particles composed of strange quarks
were produced than can be accounted for in the absence of a quark-gluon plasma.
Researchers now propose that a fraction of these diminutive stellar corpses may harbor cores that include strange quarks
as one of their constituents.
The interesting question is how do you make a picture of the proton in which strange quarks
enter in an intelligent way, and how does that dynamics manifest itself in spin and certain other quantities but not in momentum and energy," says Robert L.