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No. 35: Sep-Oct 1984

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Blooms in the desert?

Particle physicists have recently observed anomalous events in data from the proton-antiproton collider at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN). These unexpected events occur when a proton hits an antiproton head-on at very high energies. Highly collimated jets of charged particles shoot out in one direction, while an unrecognized "something" takes off in the opposite direction. The reactions take place at energies just beyond the masses of the newly discovered W and Z particles.

Till now, this energy region has been dubbed a "desert" because, according to the so-called Grand Unification Theory of particle interactions, nothing is supposed to happen there. But there is something there after all; and whatever it is, it does not seem to be remotely like any known or predicted particle.

(Waldrop, M. Mitchell; "Blooms in the Desert?" Science, 224:589, 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #35, SEP-OCT 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss