Top quarks are the heaviest of subatomic particles, and are prime
components of all matter--everything from mayonnaise to your big toe.
But while they are in virtually everything, they are impossible to
isolate from matter under ordinary circumstances. To study them, you
need to "make" them by running particles into each other at ultra-high
speeds, billions or trillions of times.
After working at it for
nearly 20 years, scientists at the Tevatron particle accelerator at
Fermilab have discovered the last as-yet-unproven way of making this quark--and
it only took 500 trillion particle collisions to do it. "It's a very
rare process... and it's very exciting" to finally witness it, Fermilab
physicist Dmitri Denisov told Popular Science.
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