Briefly Breaking a Law of Nature

In the Brookhaven National Laboratory physicists increased the energy of a tiny portion of space to a high enough level to briefly distort the laws of physics (as we currently understand them, anyway):

The departure from normal physics manifested itself in the apparent ability of the briefly freed quarks to tell right from left. That breaks one of the fundamental laws of nature, known as parity, which requires that the laws of physics remain unchanged if we view nature in a mirror.

This happened in bubbles smaller than the nucleus of an atom, which lasted only a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. But in these bubbles were “hints of profound physics,” in the words of Steven Vigdor, associate director for nuclear and particle physics at Brookhaven. Very similar symmetry-breaking bubbles, at an earlier period in the universe, are believed to have been responsible for breaking the balance between matter and its opposite antimatter and leaving the universe with a preponderance of matter.

In Brookhaven Collider, Briefly Breaking a Law of Nature [NYTimes]

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One response to “Briefly Breaking a Law of Nature

  1. it’s amazing what science has accomplished.

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