Narrator: This is Science Today. An international group of physicists has for the first time detected a basic constituent of matter. Research physicist Ann Heinson of the University of California, Riverside, co-led the search for top quarks.
Heinson: A top quark is an elementary particle. It's one of a small number of particle types that makes up the universe and it's the heaviest known of those particles. One top quark is as heavy as a gold atom, which has many protons and neutrons in a nucleus and a top quark is just a point-like particle, but nonetheless, it's a very heavy thing.
Narrator: This discovery was made using the Tevatron Collider, the world's highest energy particle accelerator and it produced a top quark without the simultaneous production of its antimatter partner – an extremely rare event.
Heinson: Although what we're doing is understanding a very small piece of the whole big picture, it is nonetheless a very critical piece and it helps to explain, in a mathematical way, how things interact in the universe and one can use those models to understand the beginning of the universe.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin