If this doesn't make your brain hurt ... you should reread it.
According to the "Strange Matter Hypothesis," which gained popularity in the paranormal 1980's, nuclear matter, too, can be strange. The hypothesis suggests that small conglomerations of quarks, the infinitesimally tiny particles that attract by a strong nuclear force to form neutrons and protons in atoms, are the true ground state of matter. The theory has captivated particle physicists worldwide, including one of Washington University's own.
Mark Alford, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, and collaborators from MIT and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have used mathematical modeling to discover some properties of theoretical "strange stars," composed entirely of quark matter. Alford and his colleagues have found that under the right conditions the surface of a strange star could fragment into blobs of quark material called "strangelets," forming a rigid halo that contradicts traditional strange star models. This means that collapsed stars' nuclear leftovers, like the famously resplendent Crab Nebula, could be stranger than physicists think.
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