Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland have announced the discovery of a new particle ‘pentaquark’. The prediction about the existence of such exotic subatomic particles was made in 1960s but scientists got hold of the particle only in 2011 and 2012. They however were not sure back then and therefore refrained from making an announcement.
The discovery made in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will allow physicists to better understand how ordinary matter – the protons and neutrons are constituted. The understanding of the structure of matter was revolutionised when in 1964, United States physicist and Noble Prize winner Gell-Mann proposed that protons and neutrons fall under the category of baryons which includes three fractionally charged objects known as quarks. He also proposed that another category known as mesons are formed of quark and anti-quark pairs.
Earlier experiments which looked for the possible existence of pentaquarks were unsuccessful since there was a lack of a comprehensive approach. Pentaquarks may provide vital clues to scientists as to what happens when stars collapse.