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Wednesday
Jun062018

Physicists Say They Have Evidence For A New Fundamental Particle

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This story of a tiny particle could be really big. Physicists say they have evidence for the existence of a new fundamental particle, as they call it. If it's confirmed, it could overturn what scientists think they know about how the universe is put together. NPR's Joe Palca reports.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: You may not be intimately familiar with particles called neutrinos, but they're intimately familiar with you. Thousands of billions of them are passing through your body every second. They're one of the most abundant particles in the universe, and they fit into something called the standard model. That's a set of predictions about just about everything - all fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces that work on them.

JANET CONRAD: One of the patterns that we've noticed in the standard model is that things seem to come in threes.

PALCA: That's MIT particle physicist Janet Conrad.

CONRAD: So, for example, there are three families of quarks.

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