A new study concerning a subatomic discovery has just been published in the journal Nature which scientists very nearly kept secret and hid from the public, for fear of creating a panic. This subatomic event was found to theoretically be even more intense than a hydrogen bomb and could feasibly occur when just two extremely small particles called quarks collide, creating what scientists called a “quarksplosion.”
It’s important to take into consideration the fact that these new subatomic findings are based purely on work that is theoretical, although the conclusions drawn in the study were based on actual results from experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider.
Tel Aviv University physicist Marek Karliner was quick to reassure those who might be concerned that scientists were taking a huge risk by releasing their new study to the public by explaining that it was very unlikely that anyone would ever be able to harness these subatomic explosions for nefarious purposes, as LiveScience reports.
“If I thought for a microsecond that this had any military applications, I would not have published it. I must admit that when I first realized that such a reaction was possible, I was scared. But, luckily, it is a one-trick pony.”
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) November 4, 2017
For this dangerous “quarksplosion” to occur, Marek Karliner and Jonathan Rosner explained that you would need two bottom quarks to fuse with each other, which would great a massive explosion much more enormous than a hydrogen bomb. If you’re wondering what a quark is, these are small particles which connect together to form the protons and neutrons that reside in atoms.
There are six versions, also known as flavors, of quarks that are known as up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm. Subatomic events are measured in megaelectronvolts (MeV), and physicists discovered that when a fusion occurs between two bottom quarks, 138 MeV of energy will be produced as a consequence.
To put this event into perspective, that amount of energy would be eight times stronger than the individual nuclear fusion inside of hydrogen bombs.
One of the reasons why there is very little reason to fear a “quarksplosion” is because you would need quite large amounts of particles to stockpile, which is what happens with nuclear bombs to create a chain reaction. However, there is simply no way to stockpile bottom quarks because they fade away exactly 1 picosecond after their creation.
This is so fast that it’s exactly how long it would take for light to move down just half a tiny grain of salt. After this amount of time the bottom quark turns into an up quark, and these particular quarks are much less energetic than bottom quarks.
So while it may be possible to use accelerators that stretch for miles to elicit a single fusion reaction from bottom quarks, it would still technically be impossible to stockpile these quarks in the first place.
Even though this new study in Nature was purely theoretical, within the next two years its authors hope to conduct their subatomic discovery experiment at CERN.
[Featured Image by Martial Trezzini/AP Images]