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No. 26: Mar-Apr 1983

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Maybe there's one stable particle!

The new Grand Unified Theories (GUTs) of physics predict that the proton decays radioactively -- contrary to what you may have been taught in physics class. Several experiments in deep mines and tunnels seem to have registered proton decays. Is nothing stable anymore? There is hope. A huge cubical detector, 21 meters on a side, is now operating 2000 feet under Lake Erie in a salt mine. The water-filled cube is monitored by 2048 photomultipler tubes, and is serviced by divers! After 80 days of operation, no events resembling proton decays have been detected, whereas many would have been expected if the other reports were true. The GUTs may be in trouble; and there may be something stable in the universe that we can count on!

(Thomsen, D.E.; "Decay-Resistant Protons in Ohio," Science News, 123:85, 1983.)

Comment. See SF#14 for some of the strange particles detected in the Kolar Gold Fields, in India, where some of the supposed proton decays were reported.

From Science Frontiers #26, MAR-APR 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987