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Fermilab Not Dead Yet, Discovers Rare Single Top Quark

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the emphasis-on-the-operating dept.

Announcements 194

Several sources are reporting that in spite of LHC hype, Fermilab's Tevatron has produced another feat for scientific discovery. Currently the world's most powerful operating particle accelerator, the Tevatron has allowed researchers to observe a rare single Top Quark. "Previously, top quarks had only been observed when produced by the strong nuclear force. That interaction leads to the production of pairs of top quarks. The production of single top quarks, which involves the weak nuclear force and is harder to identify experimentally, has now been observed, almost 14 years to the day of the top quark discovery in 1995."

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And (5, Funny)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128063)

This quark was not charmed by being photographed.

Re:And (4, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128181)

That sounds rather strange.

Re:And (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128197)

Should I mod this "up" or "down" ?

Re:And (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128219)

Should I mod this "up" or "down" ?

If we measure, won't that change the outcome?

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128271)

If it gets modded up, you can color me tickled pink.

Re:And (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128465)

If it gets modded up, you can color me tickled pink.

not to gluon the point, but that seems like a rather strong interaction.

Ohhhhhhhhh..... REALLY??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27129575)

If it gets modded up, you can color me tickled pink.

I'd bet you wouldn't say that to the grand NAGUS??

Re:And (5, Funny)

staryc (852301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128305)

Should I mod this "up" or "down" ?

If we measure, won't that change the outcome?

We should let it simultaneously exist as funny and not exist as funny.

Re:And (5, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128371)

We should let it simultaneously exist as funny and not exist as funny.

Well that certainly puts a spin on things.

Re:And (2, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129319)

I think this whole interaction is weak. Anti-funny really, sorry to be so negative my mother was a muon.

Re:And (1)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129887)

Sorry, but I think this gag's 1x10^-25 seconds are up.

Re:And (2, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128983)

We should let it simultaneously exist as funny and not exist as funny.

That would be almost as spooky as pink ponies!

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27129381)

We should let it simultaneously exist as funny and not exist as funny.

Is that the same as existing as funny and existing as not funny?

Re:And (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129521)

I could tell you, but then I'd have to shoot Schrodinger's cat.

Re:And (4, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129657)

I think there is a high probability this thread will collapse into a series of bad puns.

Re:And (3, Interesting)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128395)

It will happen both ways. There'll be a whole Universe created when you mod one way, another for modding another, yet another for not modding, and still others where you don't ask this question and this one where you did ask. Multiverse [wikipedia.org] . Of course I created a universe by posting this. There's another universe where I did not post and instead pleasured myself with some hairy milf porn.

Re:And (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128565)

It's going to be hard to top that one. And... uh... my bottom hurts.

(that last one was a stretch I know)

Re:And (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129551)

And... uh... my bottom hurts.....a stretch I know

sounds like your charm and beauty led to a strange coupling

Re:And (-1, Flamebait)

Zeio (325157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128303)

In other news today, Physicists are still busy smashing atoms into little bits while real progress on a fusion reactor that is desperately needed now languishes.

We need another "JFK" to say "get a fusion reactor online" just as JFK said "we will go to the moon" - badly.

I think high energy physics and cosmology should always predicate the latest sexy experiment with some justification given the expense to the taxpayers as to what the applicability of all this is.

Re:And (0, Flamebait)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128523)

You expect the people (ie. the government) to expect something back from "stimuli", piles of cash. Probably you mean something other than the customary (in Chicago, at least) "election" support like slanted coverage.

You must be missing the Bush administration already ...

That ship sailed when "I have no opinion one way or the other, but don't you really hate THAT guy ?" got elected.

Re:And (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128547)

Interesting. What is the cost to the taxpayers of Fermilab? How much is being spent on developing nuclear fusion?

Cosmology is less applicable but rarely gets much federal funding. High-energy physics is enormously useful, but it takes quite a while for the application to appear.

Grant requests always give justification for experiments. Press releases, not always -- they expect you to do some minimum of research yourself.

Re:And (1)

NulDevice (186369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129843)

Fermilab? The power bill is the expensive part. Last year they got their budget cut so much they had to get private funding or else they'd close.

I don't know the exact amount, but it's not a whole lot compared to a lot of other science programs.

Re:And (4, Informative)

DrLudicrous (607375) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128781)

High energy physics has a rich history of spinoff technologies. Ever had an MRI? The superconducting magnets used in an MRI machine come out of particle accelerators. Massive amounts of data analysis? Talk to a high energy physicist. And as final tongue-in-cheek example, have you used the Internet lately? Invented at CERN.

Re:And (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128825)

And as final tongue-in-cheek example, have you used the Internet lately? Invented at CERN.

WWW, not Internet. Some of us were perfectly happy with our Gopher and FTP before the new-fangled web stuff came along.

Re:And (4, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129215)

And as final tongue-in-cheek example, have you used the Internet lately? Invented at CERN.

I'm guessing by "tongue-in-cheek" you mean "totally wrong".

The Internet was not invented at CERN -- it was invented by DARPA back in 1969 -- the World Wide Web (more specifically, HTTP) was invented at CERN.

Re:And (2, Funny)

dpiven (518007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129223)

have you used the Internet lately? Invented at CERN.

World Wide Web (invented at CERN) != Internet (invented by Al Gore).

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27129253)

Well, not Internet but Web...

Re:And (5, Funny)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129611)

>>High energy physics has a rich history of spinoff technologies. Ever had an MRI?
>>The superconducting magnets used in an MRI machine come out of particle accelerators.

I can't count the number of times people have stolen the super-conducting magnets from my particle accelerator to make MRI machines. Right now I'm stuck with a backlog of stationary particles in a jar in my back shed. I tried accelerating them by putting them in the passenger seat and driving down the road really fast, but it just wasn't the same :-(

Re:And (3, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129705)

Just a few examples from Fermilab:

ACP/MAPS: One of the pioneers in the use of massively parallel computers in science. Built and designed at Fermilab, was once the top of the super computer list.

IBM Farms: Inspired IBM's SP1, which has then lead to the Blue Gene series of computers. The Farms, both IBM and SGI, at Fermilab also pioneered the use of computer farms. It may be where the term "farm" originated.

Fermilab was a very early adopter of Linux. Bob Young, one of the founders of RedHat, credits that adoption with the early success of Linux.

Re:And (5, Insightful)

FiniteSum (1409667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128821)

The minute you try to make scientific research into a commodity like this, you will kill all scientific research. Do you think 19th century physicists had iPhones in mind when they were creating rudimentary batteries and experimenting with electromagnetism? Do you think Maxwell only published his famous paper so he could enable the creation of hybrid cars? Could anyone have predicted digital computers? Hell, could the inventors of digital computers have predicted modern desktops?

Re:He is right (0, Offtopic)

GymW (661040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129169)

The only long term exit from fossil fuels on the horizon is Fuson. -Solar:unreliable (rain & night); materials are exotic, costly, and manufacturing creates toxic waste or environmental damage -Wind: unreliable and takes up a lot of space. -Fission: byproducts are highly toxic and waste management is a nightmare. -Fusion: Fuel is extracted tritium (H3) gas or heavy water; waste is hydrogen gas or water. Abundance of fuel-virtually unlimited. If fusion goes on-line it will be so plentiful and cheap that meters may be abandoned for a nominal monthly charge for all the electricity you want to use. The only limitation will be the ability of the power grid to supply it.

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27129345)

We kind of already do. The NIF has just been finished and 'ignition' just might be achieved this year or early next if all goes according to plan: https://lasers.llnl.gov/newsroom/project_status/index.php [llnl.gov]

Re:And (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130073)

Ha. Fourier was proud of being a pure mathematician. Today, his works are amongst the most applied in just about every digital processing system.

Re:And (3, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128185)

This quark was not charmed by being photographed.

Strange.

Re:And (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128387)

Redundant!?

It was a quantum finish!

Re:And (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129693)

He posted first, but he was also closer to the black hole.

Re:And (2, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130165)

Agreed. Moderators were distracted by the plethora of particular humor above, and didn't notice that this post that was marked "redundant" was posted WAY before most of the jokes above. At 7:43 this was a perfectly legit comment.

Please mods, correct this. This only encourages usage of the FRPoR (first reasonable post or reply) for all future moderation or karma gains. This was quite funny, and I am giving CaptainPatent a +1 in my mind.

Re:And (1, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128281)

No, but the girl [xkcd.com] was. Ok, a badly drawn stick girl in a webcomic was anyway ;)

Re:And (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128995)

Master I feel The Force is strong in it.

I wonder (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128067)

if school children will ever get taught about quarks. I mean, most 10 year olds can tell you about protons, electrons and neutrons.

Re:I wonder (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128121)

It was in my highschool text book ten years ago. The teacher never got that far, but it was in there.

They're probably still using the same book. I was rather lucky that they had just bought new books, considering it'd been at least 15 years since the last update before that. My book the grade before still had the "raisins in pudding" model of atoms.

Re:I wonder (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128125)

if school children will ever get taught about quarks. I mean, most 10 year olds can tell you about protons, electrons and neutrons.

Perhaps when they find some use for quarks, they'll start teaching schoolchildren about them.

Re:I wonder (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128151)

Hmm. The use of quarks are like saying what is the use of an child.

Re:I wonder (4, Funny)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128249)

Hmm. The use of quarks are like saying what is the use of an child.

Coincidentally in this case the answer is the same: Nothing.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128183)

How about explaining why protons have a +1 charge and neutrons have no charge? I'd say that's pretty useful. Ditto with explaining the charge of the anti-nucleons.

Re:I wonder (2, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128299)

How about explaining why protons have a +1 charge and neutrons have no charge? I'd say that's pretty useful. Ditto with explaining the charge of the anti-nucleons.

Actually, they don't explain "why" they have +1 charge. Merely elaborate on the idea that they do so.

Note also that the reason that protons have +1 charge isn't especially useful, in and of itself. Interesting, perhaps, but not useful.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

dtremenak (893336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128525)

Interesting, perhaps, but not useful.

All the more reason to teach it. We should be trying to get students interested in science.

Re:I wonder (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128227)

I'm made of quarks, you insensitive clod!

Concept of Superposition (1)

PalmHair (1222728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128519)

... when they find some use for quarks...

In quantum world all particles are in superposition of being both useful and useless. You cannot determine usefulness of a quantum particle without measuring (and destroying as a result) it.

Re:Concept of Superposition (1)

skelterjohn (1389343) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128761)

Measuring a particle's usefulness seems like a waste of a particle's usefulness.

Re:I wonder (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128335)

Admittedly, I was homeschooled, but I was taught about quarks.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128401)

And what else besides Star Trek Deep Space Nine did you watch at home?

Re:I wonder (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128475)

Warning: totally off topic. :)

Actually, I have never liked Star Trek, really. Never watched it, except the old original movies. I think I saw three of them.. I really only liked Spock and Dr. Bones though.

I also wasn't a Star Wars fan, for the most part. I saw them once when I was pretty young, and once again in college, and I've seen Episodes 1 through 3 once each. LOTR is different ;)

I know you were joking, but may as well: homeschooled != nerd, geek, or socially inept. It just means my parents thought I would be better educated at home than in the public school system or even in the private schools. I tend to agree, having seen the public schools in our area. I learned more and learned it faster, giving more time for non-school activities... music lessons, computers, sports, etc..

Re:I wonder (1)

Rip Dick (1207150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128763)

WOOSH!!!

Re:I wonder (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128897)

The reason people think that home schooled kids are nerds, geeks, or socially inept is because by the time they are 12 or 13, they behave and expect other to behave like adults. Put them in a room full of 30 other 13 year olds who still have the mentality of an 8 year old but with full adult libidos, and the well adjust home school kid seems out of place. It's the sane man in an insane world syndrome. Take any well adjusted adult, and put them in the body of a 13 year old, and they will seem out of place in a public school.

Re:I wonder (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129741)

My first year of college my roommate and I made a sport of picking the kids that were homeschooled out of groups of people. The defining characteristic? Social awkardness.

Now granted, we may have had plenty of false negatives but we *rarely* had false positives.

Re:I wonder (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129445)

Pretty sure I just heard a loud WOOSH. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_(Star_Trek) [wikipedia.org]

Also you are on /. commenting about particle physics. Sorry but I've got some news for you. While homeschooling might not be the cause..... you are indeed a nerd. Even if you didn't pick up the reference.

They have laready heard of quarks (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129711)

I got taught about quarks at secondary school years ago in the UK. As a particle physicist who was actually involved in this analysis I now go to schools and give talks about particle physics and they have usually heard of quarks (here in Canada) even if they are not quite sure what they are.

SMBC Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128209)

How funny, today's comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is very related and very funny - http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1452

The rare single top quark's Mother stated... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128221)

...that unless you want to die alone, that you should just settle already.

Bare/Single quark? (3, Interesting)

cblack (4342) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128251)

Just to be clear, this isn't a single/bare quark w/o a partner is it? As I thought isolating quarks outside of a hadron (w/ 1 or 2 other quarks) was not possible due to the nature of the strong force. Is what they are really saying is that they got an event to force just one top quark to decay once released from a hadron rather than 2 or more at once?

Re:Bare/Single quark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128311)

Correct via color confinement http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_confinement You cannot have a 'bare' quark. What I THINK they mean isn't that they JUST got one from a hadron, but in the resulting hadronization there was just one in the resulting outcome/stream/decay chain.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128321)

Yes, quarks produced via the strong (or electromagnetic) interaction are always produced in quark/anti-quark pairs. So a strongly produced top quark would always be produced with an anti-top quark. Those two quarks would not generally end up in the same hadron, but they would both be produced at the same time.

The weak interaction can change quark flavors, so a top quark could be produced from some other flavor of quark, with no anti-top quark being produced in the event. All the quarks will end up in hadrons, though.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (5, Informative)

parrillada (264680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128357)

They are saying that the top quark is being produced one at a time, rather than in pairs (IAAP). It's actually subtle -- what had been observed before were 2 top quarks emerging from a gluon. Now they have observed one top quark (and another quark) emerging from a W-boson. Basically. This is not a major discovery, but it is another important showing off of the 'standard model' working very well at the energies we have so far probed.

Oh, and about isolating quarks. You cannot isolate a quark outside a hadron, but you can 'detect' the quark by observing the hadrons and leptons that it decays into, since they leave a distinct signature. The top quark is special because it decays before it even forms a hadron with other quarks.

it's a faked signal (1, Interesting)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129459)

...experimenters have more than doubled the amount of data analyzed and sharpened selection and analysis techniques, making the discovery possible. For each experiment, the probability that background events have faked the signal is now only one in nearly four million , allowing both collaborations to claim a bona fide discovery...

Emphases mine... I am not convinced this isn't a faked signal. With that possibility having a chance of one in four million, how many millions of collisions have they done in the past 15 years? Far more than 4 million, I would suspect.

The two collaborations have been searching for this rare process for the last fifteen years, starting before the discovery of the top quark in 1995.

...and another thing. Look at that diagram showing a muon went here and a neutrino went there - how in the world did they detect that neutrino, I ask? I bet it zipped right through their detector without so much a pausing to say hello.

Re:it's a faked signal (4, Informative)

Phroon (820247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130035)

Emphases mine... I am not convinced this isn't a faked signal. With that possibility having a chance of one in four million, how many millions of collisions have they done in the past 15 years? Far more than 4 million, I would suspect.

You aren't quite grasping what he means by one in four million. This wasn't a single event we are talking about here.

The way the statistics work is that you would have to run the entire Fermilab experiment four million times to get what they see from a fake signal. It's a cumulative probability over all the events ever recorded at Fermilab.

...and another thing. Look at that diagram showing a muon went here and a neutrino went there - how in the world did they detect that neutrino, I ask? I bet it zipped right through their detector without so much a pausing to say hello.

They didn't detect it directly. The key to 'detecting' the neutrino is to count up everything else in the remnants collision and notice that it recoils off of something that you didn't detect. It acts as though what you can see in your detector is violating the conservation of energy. But in reality there's an undetectable neutrino zipping through the detector. So you calculate how much energy and in which direction such a neutrino would travel in order to conserve energy, and that's where they get that little diagram.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (3, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129871)

Now they have observed one top quark (and another quark) emerging from a W-boson.

Actually that is only one of the single-top processes that we looked for. You can also have a W-boson exchange which changes the flavour of two quarks, one of them into a top. With enough statistics you can distinguish the two different mechanisms and measure their ratio which is a good way to detect new physics.

You cannot isolate a quark outside a hadron... The top quark is special because it decays before it even forms a hadron with other quarks.

So, in fact, you can actually study isolated top quarks which are outside a hadron because the top quark never exists in a bound state. Indeed this is one of the interesting things about the top quark in that you can study the properties of an unbound quark.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (4, Interesting)

Phroon (820247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130069)

This is not a major discovery, but it is another important showing off of the 'standard model' working very well at the energies we have so far probed.

Single-top is, however, one of the backgrounds in the search for the Higgs boson. For Fermilab to discover the Higgs, they have to discover single-top first.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128405)

One of the papers is available [arxiv.org] on the arXiv, and it confirms that they were looking for top/anti-bottom pairs instead of the top/anti-top pairs produced by strong processes.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128479)

no it is not a 'free' quark. it can be produced as tsbar, tdbar or most likley tbbar as opposed to the more common ttbar pair.

Re:Bare/Single quark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128711)

Top quarks decay too quickly to form hadrons! Even when top anti-top pairs are produced, they do not form hadrons. This, in fact, is a good opportunity to study quarks before hadronization.

Free quarks? (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128339)

I remember from the Usenet Physics FAQ [ucr.edu] that quarks are normally bound together too tightly to be observed (although that article is almost fifteen years old). Is this an exception or is something else going on? Have other single quarks been observed too?

Re:Free quarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27129109)

Yeah, an insane amount of energy is what's going on, enough to temporarily cause them to become unbound.

Re:Free quarks? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129237)

Most of the time when a lab "observes" an interesting particle they don't actually detect it, they just detect all the crazy debris that it produces when it explodes^W decays.

Explanation wanted (1)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128409)

The fine article says that this results limits the number of possible quarks. Can someone give an explanation (or even the outline of one) at a level that someone with a B.S. in physics can understand?

Re:Explanation wanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128469)

the "explanation" is that they're probably a few we

Re:Explanation wanted (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129155)

These posts normally end in [NO CARRIER]

They're normmaly funnier too.

Re:Explanation wanted (4, Informative)

Phroon (820247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130097)

The fine article says that this results limits the number of possible quarks. Can someone give an explanation (or even the outline of one) at a level that someone with a B.S. in physics can understand?

One of the things single-top is sensitive to is the coupling strength of the top and bottom quarks via the weak force. The value of this coupling is tightly constrained if one assumes that there are only six quarks (ie. there are three generations of matter). The fact that they measured it and it's within the six quark ballpark means that it is very likely that there isn't another pair of quarks waiting to be discovered.

The basic idea is that if the top and bottom coupling strength is measured to be less than the value we expect for six quarks then that means that some of that coupling strength actually goes to a different, seventh or eighth, quark. But I'm grossly simplifying things here for the general slashdot crowd.

Which came first, the comic or the announcement? (1, Funny)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128411)

Seems appropriate. [smbc-comics.com]

Queue the gay, leather scene, quark jokes (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128417)

Are the top quarks rarer than the sub bottom quarks?

pictures k thx (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128435)

The production of single top quarks, which involves the weak nuclear force and is harder to identify experimentally, has now been observed

Pictures, or it didn't happen.

Sub-Atomic Porn (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27128445)

Yes, the Top Quark has now been observed. What they didn't tell you is that it was smacking around a naked, tied-up and moaning Bottom Quark at the time.

and its not a 'free' quark (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128453)

it is just not produced as a ttbar pair, rather it is a tdbar, tsbar or more likley tbbar. Just in case the 'single' confuses anyone.

Does anyone else find it 'strange' that.... (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128463)

Fermilab seemed to be counted out, no longer useful, with the advent of the LHC? How many recent science ventures turned out to be more useful than originally thought, and initially thought less useful than a replacement?

Space station? Hubble telescope? Mars rovers? ... you get the point. Why would anyone count Fermilab out? I just find that odd. Sure, it doesn't have the professed capabilities of the LHC, but then neither does the LHC right now. I seem to remember something about not fixing it if it ain't broke being relatively true.

I expect more from Fermilab too.

This is so much like American Idol or something ... gah!

Re:Does anyone else find it 'strange' that.... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128653)

Sure, it doesn't have the professed capabilities of the LHC, but then neither does the LHC right now.

Exploding and releasing a lot of gas? [slashdot.org] Fermilab should go for Del Taco, they'd get right back in the game.

Re:Does anyone else find it 'strange' that.... (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128769)

Not really suprising. I disagree in some sense, but it's not suprising. We've discovered close to (but as the article demonstrates not quite) everything we can discover at the energy levels the Tevatron can generate - Needs bigger particle gun. And if the new one at CERN doesn't help, the next new one will have to be bigger than earth :/

Re:Does anyone else find it 'strange' that.... (1)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129327)

Well, the US could always finish the Superconducting Super Collider (40 TeV vs 14 TeV). Even after the LHC was finished this would be a big deal.

You know, if congress (President Clinton tried to get it built) would have funded it we would be talking about the SSC in the US instead of the LHC in Geneva. It makes me sad that the US had the foresight to create a collider that would have produced results for decades but decided to kill it because of short-sighted congressmen.

Re:Does anyone else find it 'strange' that.... (1)

vix86 (592763) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128773)

I was reading earlier last month that Fermilab thinks they might have a 50% (possibly more) chance of detecting the Higgs assuming the amount of energy needed to break it apart is low. So ya, Fermilab can still provide us with a lot of new findings before LHC goes active later this year.

If we treated all sciencefacilities like Fermilab (2, Insightful)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128819)

Ferbilab dead? Oh that must be because of the fact that the LHC is now the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world, or will be once it starts again. Fermilab will only have the second most powerful one, which clearly is useless, right?

Right... So by this logic every piece of scientific equipment in the world, no matter how capable or useful is not even worth keeping up once it is no longer the number 1 on earth. So lets just abandon all the telescope observatories in the world except for the largest. Then, when someone builds a bigger once, the previous largest will be second largest and therefore useless.

Lets also scrap all the super computers in the world except for the most powerful one. Then when someone build a more powerful one, we'll scrap that one.

The point being: it is still as useful as it ever was. There are energy levels that the LHC can achieve, but there are more than enough researchers who would just about kill to get time on any of the top 50 particle accelerators in the world.

Well that means (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27128955)

Currently the world's most powerful operating particle accelerator

And that means the most powerful non-operating particle accelerator is in my basement. I have a nonworking zed-pm, the one in Switzerland doesn't. The one Switzerland cracked their magnet. My magnet is fine. The one in Switzerland has massive problems with cooling, mine doesn't as it operates at room temperature.

size doesn't matter (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129039)

Everyone else is busy showing off their ridiculously gigantic accelerators while the littler one makes all the discoveries. I guess that means it's not the size of the particle accelerator but how wisely you use it :D

Re:size doesn't matter (4, Funny)

loganljb (1424009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129225)

I think that what this actually demonstrates is that it isn't the size of the accelerator that matters -- it's how long you can keep it running before it explodes.

I'm dumb, I think. (2, Interesting)

bucky0 (229117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129343)

I thought unbound (single) quarks were didn't exist?

Re:I'm dumb, I think. (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129561)

They do, but in the Middle East, they are not permitted to be seen in public without wearing a full atom.

Generally true but not for top (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27129783)

First this is production of single top quarks, not production of a single quark. The production mechanisms we looked for always produce a top and a b quark together i.e. single as in one top quark as opposed to two top quarks.

The top quark is unusual in that it only ever exists as an unbound quark. The reason is that it has such a large mass that it decays to a b quark so rapidly that it does not live long enough to become bound.

Re:I'm dumb, I think. (2, Informative)

Phroon (820247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27130159)

There's a few things going on here that are related in different ways.

1) The single-top isn't the only quark being produced, it's actually produced with a bottom quark at the same time. Usual top quark production is in pairs, one top quark one anti-top quark, but single-top is different; a top quark is produced with a anti-bottom quark.
2) The top quark decays before it can hadronize. That is, it decays before it can pick up a partner quark. This is completely allowed in the Standard Model, but I'm a bit sketchy on the details. I think it behaves as though it was attached with the other quark it was produced with.
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