Distant Neutron Stars Could Reveal the Quirks of Quarks


Jocelyn Read, astrophysicist and assistant professor,  recently discusses the connection between neutron stars and quarks, one of the smallest building blocks of matter which mainly exist in groups of threes, to form, for example, protons and neutrons.

At the core of a neutron star, particles can get so compressed that quarks no longer act in triplets. Quarks begin to behave independently to form a different phase of matter, dubbed “quark matter." As in the highly controlled conditions within the LHC, neutron stars should produce exotic phases of quarks not readily accessible on Earth. In this sense, you can think of a neutron star as an astronomical-scale particle collider she says.

By studying fundamental interactions of quarks in the present, physicists could help discover our past. Continue reading in Wired.

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