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'Indisputable' Proof Of A New Four-Quark Particle

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Using the most powerful particle collider in the world, a research group at CERN has forged a particle made of four quarks, the European organization announced yesterday.

Most particles of matter in the universe today consist of two or three quarks. Over the past decade, however, particle-accelerator projects all over the world have gathered some evidence that a few different kinds of four-quark particles might exist. Physicists give such particles names starting with the letter Z. "These Z particles, you can think of them as a new type of matter," Eric Swanson, a University of Pittsburgh particle physicist who wasn't involved in the CERN research, tells Popular Science.

The Z particles the CERN group found go by the name Z(4430). They're extremely short-lived and exist only in extremely high-energy environments. Physicists think they would have been abundant in the universe a microsecond after the Big Bang, after which they would have fallen apart.

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