Cover: New Method to Limit Abundance of Cosmic Ray Quarks

New Method to Limit Abundance of Cosmic Ray Quarks

Published 1968

by Leona Marshall Libby, F. J. Thomas

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback7 pages $20.00

A contribution to the search for quarks, fundamental physical particles hypothesized by Murray Gell-Mann that carry an electric charge a third or two-thirds that of the proton and arrive on earth via cosmic rays. Considerations of quark chemistry are used in determining an upper limit on their density by a new method, based on the calculation that negative quarks would catalyze fission of heavy elements whether or not strong nuclear forces are important. Quarks de-excited to the lowest orbit could still induce fission in metals having a fission energy such that the process is exothermic. Under these assumptions, one quark would cause fission catalysis equivalent to a 220-watt power source in U-235 and even in U-238, not now useful for power production. A high flux of quarks would destroy nuclear devices and heavy metals, perhaps even bismuth, lead and gold. No such results have been observed in stockpiled fissionable materials, suggesting a low density of quarks at the energies and fluxes available on the surface of the earth.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.