Physicists have spied hints of two new members of the family of subatomic particles that includes the proton and neutron. Known as baryons, all such particles contain a trio of more fundamental particles, called quarks.
Although protons and neutrons are made of only so-called down and up quarks, researchers at high-energy particle colliders have for years been detecting exotic baryons containing beefier quarks called strange and charm quarks (SN: 8/25/01,
p. 116: Window Opens into Strange Nuclei). The scientists have often created baryons containing two and even three strange quarks, but no one had ever detected a baryon containing more than one charm quark, at least no one thought so.
Sifting through the data of a now-defunct experiment called SELEX, scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., have uncovered signs of two different, doubly charmed baryons.