Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Observations of Short-lived Pear-shaped Atomic Nuclei

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sounds-delicious dept.

Science 64

An anonymous reader sends this quote from a press release at CERN: "An international team at the ISOLDE radioactive-beam facility at CERN has shown that some atomic nuclei can assume asymmetric, 'pear' shapes (abstract). The observations contradict some existing nuclear theories and will require others to be amended. ... Most nuclei have the shape of a rugby ball. While state-of-the-art theories are able to predict this behaviour, the same theories have predicted that for some particular combinations of protons and neutrons, nuclei can also assume asymmetric shapes, like a pear. In this case there is more mass at one end of the nucleus than the other."

cancel ×

64 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I HAVE RISEN !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669035)

And DIED !!

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669489)

Jesus? Call me. 867-5309.

Jenny

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#43669595)

Nice, a Penn State co-ed.

#LocalPrefixJoke

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (1)

jmrives (1019046) | about a year ago | (#43670321)

Co-ed..., now there is an archaic sexist term.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (1)

dotar (1400363) | about a year ago | (#43670809)

Could you explain that, please? Where I come from it means someone who goes to a mixed-sex school.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43670857)

Sure. Specifically, it means a woman who goes to a mixed-sex school. If it applied equally to men and women, it wouldn't be sexist. Don't take my comment to seriously. I don't really think you are a sexist. The word is used quite commonly. Most people just don't reflect on its implications.

Cheers!

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43672841)

The real implication is that it's OK for guys to bang every chick in sight, but that women that do so are sluts sleeping their way to the top.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

r00t (33219) | about a year ago | (#43673815)

This idea persists because women collectively don't get all that offended by non-virgin men. Considering all the diseases, plus the risks of the man supporting some other woman (willingly or not), this is kind of a problem. We could use a derogatory word for men who run around.

That said, I don't see this changing much. There is an evolutionary reason for women to prefer men who get around; they may be more likely to produce sons who can do so. There is likewise an evolutionary reason for men to prefer women who are hesitant, at least if the man could end up providing resources.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (2)

neonKow (1239288) | about a year ago | (#43674261)

There's an evolutionary reason for racism too, but we've made much better progress on that front.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674039)

I've never noticed the term being applied to women more than men. I've always heard it used as an alternative, roughly, to 'mixed genders'. I suspect the sexist overtones began fading decades ago.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#43674267)

Wait, so a word that refers to women instead of men is sexist?

Well, I guess I won't be calling anyone a female or woman.

Wait, what can I call them?

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43680685)

There is a subtlety here. The definition of your use of the word "co-ed" is the following:

A woman who attends a coeducational college or university.

However, if you think about it, the term could be -- and I argue -- should refer to both men and women who attend a coeducational college or university. Applying it exclusively to women suggest it is only the women who have been "allowed" to co-educate with men.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673877)

Paedo State. FIFY.

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43672087)

Some God you are. Bring up the console and do

God++

and see if you ... wait, if you're dead...

Re:I HAVE RISEN !! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43672509)

and TROLLED !!

The experiment was going great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669069)

And then everything went pear shaped.

Radon (2)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#43669417)

The image of Ra (Radium [chemicalelements.com] ) shown is interesting, given that this atom is radioactive...i.e. unstable. With spheres being more stable than wobbly shapes, it seems to make sense that radioactive elements might vary well have asymmetric shapes at the atomic level.

Make that Radium (3, Funny)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#43669443)

Subject line fail.

Re:Radon (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#43673981)

All I know is that spheres are a lot more stable, but less fun that wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. Interestingly though, it looks as though the weird shapes may be more stable than spheres.

Followed shortly after by "muffin top" electrons (4, Funny)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#43669079)

Not to mention the "poor self esteem" and "great personality" protons

Re:Followed shortly after by "muffin top" electron (4, Funny)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43669175)

Not to mention the "poor self esteem" and "great personality" protons

--
I'd rather not discuss my atomic weight.

Talk about a sig that sort of fits in with the convo...

Re:Followed shortly after by "muffin top" electron (1)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#43669661)

Then there's the infamous 'fat electron', which becomes stuck in kinked wiring.

Re:Followed shortly after by "muffin top" electron (2)

meglon (1001833) | about a year ago | (#43671043)

Heard in the lab: "Dammit, that neutron went straight to my ass!"

Everything was going great... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#43669087)

Everything was going great for the Atomic Nuclei, until it all went pear shaped.

Abercrombie & Fitch don't want to know about i (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669127)

If it's pear-shaped, Abercrombie & Fitch don't want to have anything to do with it.

Pear shaped? (3, Funny)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43669163)

It must have gotten married.

Re:Pear shaped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669203)

This!

Re:Pear shaped? (3, Funny)

snadrus (930168) | about a year ago | (#43670227)

... the entanglement theory.

Re:Pear shaped? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43671097)

silly prude, a nucleus doesn't have get married to get pregnant.

Re:Pear shaped? (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about a year ago | (#43685263)

Um, my perspective on what he said was he was referring to how men (and often women) gain weight when they get married, not just to getting pregnant. Pear shape would imply expanding out in all directions, not just the front.

have you considered (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about a year ago | (#43669233)

that this nuclei is just more excited than the others!

Re:have you considered (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43670465)

that this nuclei is just more excited than the others!

Which is why I' really like some details about the experimental settings/procedure.
The paper's title is "Studies of pear-shaped nuclei using accelerated radioactive beams": is it possible the pear-shape is actually caused by the acceleration?

Re:have you considered (1)

dotar (1400363) | about a year ago | (#43670819)

is it possible the pear-shape is actually caused by the acceleration?

is it possible the paper's authors haven't already thought of that?

Re:have you considered (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43670849)

is it possible the pear-shape is actually caused by the acceleration?

is it possible the paper's authors haven't already thought of that?

Do you think this is relevant for my curiosity?

Re:have you considered (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43671783)

The acceleration referred to in the title does not have an effect on that, as it refers to the beam being accelerated before measurements are made (a long time before on the nuclear reaction time scales). The method of smacking nuclei together to excite them then measure the gamma rays produced by the relaxation of the excited nuclei is pretty standard. Although typically it used to be beam of accelerated stable isotopes hitting a radioactive target, and now they are instead accelerating the radioactive isotopes and hitting a stable stationary target. This doesn't have an effect on the reaction/excitation, but instead allows them to use less of the radioactive isotopes for the same amount of reactions, compared to having a large radioactive target most of which is not hit by nuclei in the beam. And obviously the collisions have an effect on the nuclei as that excitation is exactly what they are studying, although in ways that will average over nuclei to prevent random single nuclei effects from affecting the result.

Re:have you considered (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43672145)

Thanks. Appreciated.

Re:have you considered (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year ago | (#43672179)

that this nuclei is just more excited than the others!

Which is why I' really like some details about the experimental settings/procedure.
The paper's title is "Studies of pear-shaped nuclei using accelerated radioactive beams": is it possible the pear-shape is actually caused by the acceleration?

The acceleration of gravity causes my pear shape.

Re:have you considered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43672543)

that this nuclei is just more excited than the others!

Which is why I' really like some details about the experimental settings/procedure. The paper's title is "Studies of pear-shaped nuclei using accelerated radioactive beams": is it possible the pear-shape is actually caused by the acceleration?

The acceleration of gravity causes my pear shape.

Lemme guess... beer does help.

Pear-shaped huh? (2)

Trogre (513942) | about a year ago | (#43669385)

Reminds me of the Gary Larson cartoon set in a haywire factory.

"Professor, the beam has gone out of alignment, the atom chamber is leaking and the datalogger has crashed again. I'm afraid the whole experiment has gone you-know-what."

Reference to Island of Stablility (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669395)

For those interested: Nuclei with shapes like this or barbells are significant in solving the problem of filling that range of elements on the Periodic table that were skipped. Ideas were proposed that nuclei would need to have these shapes in order to be stable if the nucleus followed a shell model similar to electron shells. You can read more by researching "Island of Stability"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_stability

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (3, Informative)

DontLickJesus (1141027) | about a year ago | (#43669415)

For those interested: Nuclei with shapes like this or barbells are significant in solving the problem of filling that range of elements on the Periodic table that were skipped. Ideas were proposed that nuclei would need to have these shapes in order to be stable if the nucleus followed a shell model similar to electron shells. You can read more by researching "Island of Stability"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_stability [wikipedia.org]

Eh, fark. This is mine. Stupid login.

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (3, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43670981)

"Island of Stability" -- Well, it's no Fortress of Solitude, but I guess for a used up pear-shaped Atomic Avenger, it'll do.

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#43673005)

What I find interesting is that apparently we are still not able to simulate a simple system with a few (subatomic) particles. I was under the impression that at least the protons, neutrons and electrons were fully understood, and that simulating a bunch of them would be a breeze.

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (3, Informative)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about a year ago | (#43673623)

The problem is that the strong force (QCD) is behaving really weirdly - in effect a proton is composed of an infinite amount of particles: Two up quarks an a down, together carrying most of the momentum (as measured in deep inelastic scattering experiments), a bunch of gluons which, well, glues everything together, and an infinite amount of quark-antiquark pairs.

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (3, Informative)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about a year ago | (#43673635)

This means we can to a certain degree simulate simpler systems, such as pions (composed as an up and an anti-up OR down+anti-down pluss all the gluons and "sea" quarks) using lattice QCD numerical simulations. But for a whole proton, the theory and our computers just aren't up to scratch. For a whole nuclei (which is simplified by "grouping" the quarks into protons and nucleons) it quickly gets VERY hairy as you move up the mass scale. Many-particle quantum dynamics is tough stuff, especially when the interactions get powerfull - and QCD is as powerfull as it gets...

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about a year ago | (#43676065)

Why would an infinite number of quark-antiquark pairs not have infinite mass? Do antiquarks have negative mass?

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43677631)

Things like quantum fluctuations still conserve energy, and so don't change the total energy of the system, and hence don't change its mass. Beyond the basic three quarks, the rest of the junk in there is a mix of fluctuations and virtual particles appearing and disappearing on short time scales. It isn't because the anti-quarks have negative mass, but more to do with the process of creating and destroying those pairs on short time scales doesn't create mass (but does change other properties in a measurable way).

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673933)

in some sense it is possible that protons and neutrons are fully understood, if the basics of QCD are correct. However, computer simulations of QCD are not easy. In other words, even if the equations are correct, that doesn't mean the equations are necessarily easy to actually solve.

The electromagnetic force via QED seems pretty well understood. It also helps that you can use a perturbation computation model it, where the solutions you are looking for are a series terms, with each term getting smaller than the previous one. So if you want more precision, you just continue the calculation another step, and you can get arbitrarily close to the full answer as needed. This would let you model protons and electrons as far as EM pretty well (as long as you don't get too close to the proton such that your result depends on the structure of the proton). The strong force on the other hand is not as easy to make such computations for, so different methods are needed.

It is similar how one could say that basic principles of quantum mechanics should render all of chemistry a solved field. But in reality, even if the quantum mechanics governing interaction between atoms is completely correct, there are limits to how complex of a situation we can solve by computer so there is not some simple computer model replacing the whole field.

Re:Reference to Island of Stablility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674699)

We know all of the rules of games like chess and go, yet we still have trouble simulating them if you throw too many pieces or board spaces into the mix...

Rugby ball? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669491)

I'm sure that's immediately obvious to both people who have ever given a shit about rugby and also read slashdot; however "ellipsoid" would be a fuck of a lot more descriptive to most geeks.

Re:Rugby ball? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43669603)

An ellipsoid, eh? Oblate? Prolate? Scalene?

"Rugby ball" gives a good visual without any specific modifiers needed.

Re:Rugby ball? (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43671567)

Some of us are Americans you insensitive clod.

Re:Rugby ball? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43671575)

P.S. AMERICA FUCK YEAH!!!...

all caps count in this case =)

Re:Rugby ball? (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about a year ago | (#43673809)

He should have avoided all controversy and just said that most nuclei have a shape like a football.

Re:Rugby ball? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43676425)

What about calling it an ellipsoid baseball...

That's not pear shaped.... (1)

mortonda (5175) | about a year ago | (#43669511)

it's just big-boned.... :D

Fruits and science (2, Insightful)

Pro-feet (2668975) | about a year ago | (#43672729)

"...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped."

Pear-shaped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673471)

...but then again, as soon as it comes down to QM, everything goes pear-shaped...

Re:Pear-shaped (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43673499)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pear-shaped

Re:Pear-shaped (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#43673961)

So put your hands up if you’re not to drunk to stand up,
If you bombing up the toilets put your man up,
And put your can up spray it in the air mate,
Check out my man, fuck its all going pear shaped

I think she really got a charge out of it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43674133)

..when I told her she had a nice pear.

Dr Stoyan Sarg predicted this in his BSM-SG theory (2)

Zdzicho00 (912806) | about a year ago | (#43674833)

Dr. Stoyan Sarg already predicted such atomic nuclei shape in his "Basic Structures of Matter - Supergravitation Unified Theory":
http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/ground-breaking-new-book-offers-scientific-reasoning-for-cold-fusion-energy-248341.htm [sbwire.com]

BTW here is a better article from Physics World:
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2013/may/08/nuclear-physics-goes-pear-shaped [physicsworld.com]

Re:Dr Stoyan Sarg predicted this in his BSM-SG the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43675767)

Actually, the research referred to in the news here directly contradicts Dr. Sarg's models. Although both say the nucleus have non-spherical components, the research here shows that for some nuclei it is still spherical, and for the pear shaped ones it is still really close to spherical. How close the structures are to spherical still contradicts Dr. Sarg's models, which seem to ignore research into nuclear structure and instead spend a lot of time talking about how limited resolution of electron microscopes are, which are not really relevant to the subject.

This is almost the same as saying that measurements that Earth is not a perfect sphere supports flat Earth theories because they also say that the Earth is not a perfect sphere...

This is corny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43679051)

All the closer we get to atomic fruit salad.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>