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Alex Dzierba
Department of Physics

Hal Kibbey
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Exotic particles and the confinement of quarks

Alex Dzierba, Professor of Physics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The strongest force in nature that we know about is the force holding together the parts of the proton and neutron, which are called quarks. This quark-binding force behaves very differently from other forces -- it doesn't weaken when the quarks get farther apart, and quarks can't be isolated.

Understanding why this happens is the goal of a new $45 million project led by physicists from Indiana University Bloomington. A signing ceremony announcing formal approval of this project is scheduled to take place on April 19 at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va., where the experiments will eventually be done. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Finding the answers to the questions about the quark-binding force has been called one of the 10 fundamental questions in physics for the new millennium. It could lead to detection of an entirely new form of matter, with applications now beyond our imaginations.

"Understanding the confinement of quarks -- fundamental constituents of matter -- is recognized as one of the important and outstanding problems in physics," Dzierba said.

"Our end of it is called the GlueX/HallD project," he said. "The 250-ton superconducting solenoid to be used for this project is being refurbished at the IU Cyclotron Facility. We obtained a robotics electronics assembly facility to be used for manufacturing components. We are also working with people at Cornell University to establish a physics analysis center here at IU for analyzing large data sets."

More information about the GlueX project is available at Dzierba can be reached for explanation and comment at 812-855-9421 (office) or 812-327-1881 (cell) or by e-mail at