Physicists from the U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory and colleagues from Germany and China are the first to present indirect evidence of the as yet unseen heavy strange baryon. The evidence indicates that the elusive subatomic particle is being produced in quark-gluon plasma in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The discovery was reported by Brookhaven theoretical physicist Swagato Mukherjee and colleagues at the Brookhaven website.
Heavy strange baryons are transient subatomic particles that have a least one strange quark in the three quarks they are composed of. Neutrons and protons are more familiar baryons. Quarks are the most elementary and fundamental component of matter. Quarks combine to make the other more commonly know components of atoms including antiparticles. There are six types of quarks: up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top. Strange quarks are only known to be produced in high energy collisions.
Heavy strange baryons are thought to have been a major contributor to the origin of all matter in the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. The existence of these particles was predicted by the original quark model of matter proposed by physicists Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig in 1964. The model requires that heavy strange baryons exist but no proof of these particle’s existence has been produced until now.
The researchers examined data from the high energy collisions in quark-gluon plasma. The physicists realized that something made the other known and detectable types of strange baryons freeze at a lower temperature than was theoretically expected. The particle that produced the freezing point depression that is similar to freezing point depression by salts in water was the heavy strange baryon.
This is the first indirect evidence that heavy strange barons exist and can be created by high energy collisions. Apparently the Brookhaven facility has been making heavy strange baryons for quiet some time. The significance of the discovery is coming closer to proving all the theoretical particles of the quark model of matter are real. The discovery also indicates that many of the Big Bang concepts are justifiable in physical reality.