Science: The Potent Particle

Like fishermen trolling in strange water, atomic physicists send instruments groping through the earth's upper atmosphere to trap whatever happens to come by. Last week scientists at the University of Minnesota reported that they had caught a whopper: a helium nucleus moving a shade slower than the speed of light with a force at least 150,000 times as powerful as the greatest energy produced by man—the 6 billion electron volts whirled out by the University of California's bevatron.

The helium nucleus, most powerful particle ever trapped, crashed into a 200-lb. stack of 300 silver bromide photographic plates suspended beneath a balloon that...

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