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Pentaquarks

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and technology

 

Context:

A new kind of “pentaquark” and the first-ever pair of “tetraquarks” have been found by LHC. This article is in continuation of yesterday’s article on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

 

Background:

CERN is the original name of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which runs the particle accelerator complex that houses the LHC, the world’s largest and most complex collider. The LHC, re-ignited after three years in April, has begun smashing together protons at almost the speed of light, which could throw up “new” physics beyond the Standard Model.


 

What are quarks?

Quarks are elementary particles that come in six “flavours”: up, down, charm, strange, top, and bottom. They usually combine together in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.

  • Strong force: The interaction of quarks was tied to one of the fundamental forces of nature called the strong force. The force not only holds the insides of atoms together but is important in the interactions of other sub-atomic particles that make the universe tick.
  • Hadrons: any of the subatomic particles (such as protons and neutrons) that are made up of quarks and are subject to strong force.

 

 

Current Affairs

 

Recent findings:

  • Scientists have found new ways in which quarks, the tiniest particles known to humankind, group together
  • “Exotic” matter: Quarks can also combine into four-quark and five-quark particles, called tetraquarks and pentaquarks.
  • Towards Period table of exotic mass: This takes the total number discovered there to 21. the latest finds mean that there are now enough of these particles to begin grouping them together, like the chemical elements in the periodic table. That is an essential first step towards creating a theory and set of rules governing exotic mass.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Links

W Bosons

 

Practice Questions

Q. Discuss the significance of the Standard Model of particle physics in understanding the sub-atomic particle and the origin of the universe. How is it different from Einstein’s theory of relativity? (15M)

 

Q. In the context of modern scientific research, consider the following statements about ‘IceCube’, a particle detector located at the South Pole, which was recently in the news:

  1. It is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometre of ice.
  2. It is a powerful telescope to search for dark matter.
  3. It is buried deep in the ice.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: D

A neutrino is a fermion that interacts only via weak interaction and gravity. The neutrino is so named because it is electrically neutral and because its rest mass is so small that it was long thought to be zero.

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is constructed at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. The project is a recognized CERN experiment. It is buried beneath the surface, extending to a depth of about 2,500 meters.