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No. 25: Jan-Feb 1983

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Anomalons Are Lazy Or Fat

No, an "anomalon" is not an animal unknown to science.

"Anomalon" is the name that has been given to unusual fragments that are created in high-energy collisions of atomic nuclei. The fragments are peculiar because they appear not to travel as far as expected in the special "nuclear" emulsion used to study the interactions of high-energy nuclei from heavy-ion accelerators or in cosmic rays. This suggests that the anomalons are either much larger than conventional nuclei, and are more likely to interact in the emulsion and therefore do not travel so far, or are some unusually long-lived form of matter, lasting for around 1011 seconds or more."

One thought is that anomalons may be constructed of two triplets of quarks. These sextets are called "demon deuterons." Another hypothesis has small nuclei bound loosely together -- they don't say by what. The whole thing is up in the air, or should we say in the emulsion?

(Sutton, Christine; "Anomalon Data Continue to Baffle Physicists," New Scientist, 96:160, 1982.)

Comment. One thing is sure, nuclear physicists have a lot of fun naming their newly found particles.

From Science Frontiers #25, JAN-FEB 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss