Nuclear Physics: A Step Away from Symmetry

The experiment involved infinitesimal particles of matter so slight and evanescent that they survived only a billionth of a billionth of a second. In their place they left still lighter particles that made fine lines across a bubble chamber at Brookhaven National Laboratory. And in those curving tracks scientists traced the possibility of trouble for vast and sweeping theories that involve not only tracks in bubble chambers and bits of atoms, but also distant stars and still undiscovered galaxies.

The Brookhaven experiment involved a fast-decaying subatomic particle known as an eta meson,...

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