LiveScience reports that physicists sifting through old particle accelerator data “have found evidence of a highly-elusive, never-before-seen process: a so-called triangle singularity.”
Long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot shares their report:
First envisioned by Russian physicist Lev Landau in the 1950s, a triangle singularity refers to a rare subatomic process where particles exchange identities before flying away from each other. In this scenario, two particles — called kaons — form two corners of the triangle, while the particles they swap form the third point on the triangle.
“The particles involved exchanged quarks and changed their identities in the process,” study co-author Bernhard Ketzer, of the Helmholtz Institute for Radiation and Nuclear Physics at the University of Bonn, said in a statement.
It’s called a singularity because the mathematical methods for describing subatomic particle interactions break down.
If this singularly weird particle identity-swap really happened, it could help physicists understand the strong force, which binds the nucleus together.