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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 13, 2005 16:31:17 GMT -6
Scientists make landmark observations about weak force
The weak force is tremendously important. Without it, there would be no life on Earth. The weak force causes radioactive decays, which are essential in making sunlight. Radioactive decays also warm the inner Earth, enabling liquid magma to move continents and generate earthquakes.
Radioactive decays can be used to measure the age of the Earth and archeological samples, and to diagnose and treat disease. The strength of the weak force affects how long the sun and stars last, and the mix of basic elements in our universe.
Using extraordinary precision, scientists working on SLAC's E158 experiment made the landmark observation that the strength of the weak force acting on two electrons lessens when the electrons are far apart. The results have been accepted for publication in the field's primary journal, Physical Review Letters.