It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
Preons are hypothetical particles that have been proposed as the building blocks of quarks, which are in turn the building blocks of protons and neutrons. A preon star - which is not really a star at all - would be a chunk of matter made of these constituents of quarks and bound together by gravity. According to physicists Johan Hansson and Fredrik Sandin of the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden, swarms of preon stars may have formed in the early universe, and might even still be around.
If preon stars do exist, they would be the first evidence of a class of particles more elementary than quarks, and our current understanding of matter would be overturned. Preon stars might even account for much of the universe's dark matter, the invisible stuff that keeps clusters of galaxies from flying apart and that may be responsible for sculpting the structure of the cosmos.
In the 1980s and 90s, however, preons fell out of favour because of the lack of both experimental evidence and theoretical necessity. "We do not really need preons to explain the properties of quarks," says physicist Greg Landsberg of Brown University in Rhode Island. "Searches for quark substructure are performed every time a new energy frontier opens up, and they have been all unsuccessful so far."
At the root of all this is the standard model of particle physics, part of which is the notion that protons and neutrons are made of quarks. In 1974, Nobel laureate Abdus Salam and Dirac medallist Jogesh Pati proposed that certain inconsistencies in the model could be explained if quarks themselves consist of even smaller particles, which they named preons.