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Science News: December 2003

Author: Nicolas Delerue, Issue: December 2003, Topic: Science News, Science

Two discoveries at KEK this month
Particle physicist of the BELLE collaboration at KEK have released two important results this month. First they have shown that B mesons violate the "Bell inequality". To do this measurement they used particles called mesons that had a common origin but had travelled in different directions. If Bell inequality was true, measuring the properties of one particle would let them predict some properties of the other particle. They have shown that this is not true as predicted by quantum physics.

The second result will probably shake the particle physics community for a long time: they have discovered an unexpected particle. This particle, called X(3872) does not fit in the current model used to describe elementary particles behaviour. One possible explanation could be that one of the force holding particles together has not been evaluated properly or this particle could in fact be a bound state of two particles, forming a "molecule" of particles... To understand what are the implications of this new particle more data and more exciting studies are necessary.

More details on Bell's inequality can be found at http://physicsweb.org/article/news/7/11/3. More details on the X(3872) can be found at http://www.kek.jp/press/2003/belle4e.html.

20% of the community is not working hard
A team of researcher from Sapporo has discovered that in ants colonies not all worker ants are working ant. They monitored the activity of a tree ants communities during 5 months and found out that while 80% of the ants were working, the remaining 20% seemed to be doing nothing for the colony. Even if some of the hard worker were removed the idle ants did not work more and thus the extra workload was shared among the few remaining hard-working ants. It is too early to try to correlate these studies with human communities...

More details can be found at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20031116a4.htm.

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