At some point it seemed as though CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was surely due to fail, but now all systems have been functional for enough time that researchers have been able to discover a mysterious pentaquark particle. Funnily enough, at one point, this pentaquark particle was thought to be non-existent. A series of mishaps caused the incredibly massive, and expensive Large Hadron Collider to shut down for roughly two years. Since it repairs have been made, it has been able to run tests constantly, and allowed further research into the mysterious and convoluted world of quarks.
What exactly is a pentaquark?
In order to understand the nature of pentaquarks, first you must delve into the idea of the quark in general. A quark is building block of matter, a very basic particle of which most everything is comprised, and composed of subatomic particles with an electrical charge. Quarks are very theoretical in nature, previously there was a tremendous amount of speculation about whether Quarks could actually be observed.
Now, scientists at CERN believe they have created the first pentaquark, a collection of five quarks bound together, using the Large Hadron Collider.
Guy Wilkinson a spokesman for the Hadron Collider experiments, comments on the knowledge to be gained from this new understanding of quarks, “The pentaquark is not just any new particle. It represents a way to aggregate quarks, namely the fundamental constituents of ordinary protons and neutrons, in a pattern that has never been observed before in over 50 years of experimental searches. Studying its properties may allow us to understand better how ordinary matter, the protons and neutrons from which we’re all made, is constituted.”
Understanding the composition of the universe one quark at a time
Hopeful experts study quarks with the hope that by gaining an understanding of these particles, they can gain an understanding of the way the entire universe functions. The discovery of the pentaquark moves the understanding we have of quarks a little further, and pushes mankind that much closer to understanding the origins of existence.
The discovery is due in large part to a new take on how to view quarks according to CERN, “earlier experiments that have searched for pentaquarks have proved inconclusive. Where the LHCb experiment differs is that it has been able to look for pentaquarks from many perspectives, with all pointing to the same conclusion. It’s as if the previous searches were looking for silhouettes in the dark, whereas LHCb conducted the search with the lights on, and from all angles.”
Origins of the idea of the quark can be traced back to Gell-Mann in 1964, and although that was a breakthrough then, no one has quite come as far as CERN in regards to research. With this newly discovered pentaquark, the future seems to filled with a few more answers to burning questions about the creation of matter.