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No. 39: May-Jun 1985

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Anomalous Anomalons

Anomalons are fragments of atomic nuclei that interact with other nuclei more readily than expected. They seem to represent a previously unknown and highly reactive state of nuclear matter. Not all physicists can find them experimentally; and far from all believe they exist. Until now, only large nuclear fragments have been found to be anomalons. But some Indian physicists working in the USSR have bombarded carbon-12 nuclei with carbon-12 nuclei and found anomalously active alpha particles in the debris from the collisions.

Not all of the alphas were anomalous, which makes the situation all the more mysterious. Just what makes a law-abiding alpha particle (a combination of two protons and two neutrons) into a highly reactive anomalon?

(Anonymous; "More Anomalous Nuclear Fragments," Science News, 127:105, 1985.)

Comment. This is the first case of very small anomalons. There does not seem to be much one could do to something as simple as an alpha particle to make it more reactive.

From Science Frontiers #39, MAY-JUN 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss