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Nuclearites—a novel form of cosmic radiation


E. Witten (personal communication) has raised the intriguing possibility that nuclear matter consisting of aggregates of up, down and strange quarks in roughly equal proportions may be less massive than ordinary nuclear matter of the same quark number consisting of protons and neutrons (triplets of non-strange quarks). These nuggets of strange quark matter may be stable for almost any baryon number (A), including values intermediate between those of ordinary nuclei (A263) and neutron stars (A 1057). We use the term ‘nuclearite’ to describe such strange quark nuggets in collision with Earth and suggest experiments to detect these encounters.

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De Rújula, A., Glashow, S. Nuclearites—a novel form of cosmic radiation. Nature 312, 734–737 (1984).

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