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IPFS News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

Can a Pear Shape Answer Some of the Fundamental Questions of the Universe

•, Timothy Koppe
 They very well could have been talking about the latest news out of CERN, the European science lab best known for its Large Hadron Collidor. Researchers at CERN have announced that they have turned up the first evidence of exotic atoms with pear-shaped nuclei.
Why does this matter? These rare-and extremely short lived-particles could help scientists answer one of physics Big Questions: how come there's Something instead of Nothing?

Typically, the nucleus of a particle is spherical of elliptical. While neither shape is a perfect circle, it is nowhere near pear shaped.  Researchers were able to create "pear shaped" nuclei by smashing beams of radium and radon atoms into targets of nickel, cadmium and tin, using CERN's ISOLDE ion separator facility. The resulting collisions excited the nuclei to energy levels at which they revealed their internal structures via the patterns of gamma rays they gave off.  (Sorry though, no Hulks were created from this experiment.)