Science: Mighty Mesons

Russian nuclear physicists announced a discovery last week, the first they have made since the war (or been allowed to talk about). Physicists P. I. Lukirsky and N. A. Perfilov told the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. that they knew what happened to negative mesons: the powerful little particles struck atomic nuclei and died while breaking them up. Trumpeted S. I. Vavilov, president of the Academy, "This possibly begins an altogether new chapter in the physics of the atomic nucleus." U.S. physicists applauded mildly, while awaiting more information.

Mesons are subnuclear particles formed when cosmic rays from outer space hit the...

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