Science: Atomic Glue

The mysteries of matter are arranged in tiers, like a series of dark basements, one below the other, leading down into the earth. When the physicists first discovered nuclear particles (protons and neutrons), they felt that they were close to understanding how atoms are put together. Now they are not so sure. The more they learn about atoms, the more they know they do not know.

Last week Columbia University told about its meson beams, a powerful new tool that the physicists are using to explore the atom's sub-basement of mystery. Columbia's monster cyclotron starts with protons (positively charged nuclear particles), and...

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