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A hypothetical particle or small body of strange matter that may be as large or larger than an atomic nucleus but smaller than a neutron star.
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Such chunks are termed strangelets, and there is that worrisome notion suggesting that, if a strangelet bumps into an agglomeration of ordinary matter (the stuff of stars, planets, moons, and ourselves), it could change the ordinary matter into strange matter.
This liberates energy, which produces a larger and, hence, more stable strangelet, setting off a chain reaction as ever larger and more stable strangelets go on to collide with one nucleus after another, changing all of the ordinary matter that it comes in contact with into strange matter.
Nonetheless, we must ask if it is possible for strangelets to wreak havoc by convening the ordinary atomic matter in our world into strange matter.
courts to prevent the LHC from being turned on at all, asserting that the experiments posed a small risk of creating low-velocity micro black holes and theoretical particles such as strangelets, magnetic monopoles and vacuum bubbles.
The safety experts also looked at other potential dangers - from vacuum bubbles to a worrying-sounding hypothetical form of matter called strangelets - but found it was extremely unlikely that the LHC would generate them.
If they go really, really badly - as in bad science fiction movie badly - the LHC could spawn microscopic black holes or something known as strangelets.
Some experts seriously feared that the strangelets would sink to the centre of the Earth and start devouring the world from the inside out.
The greater risk: RHIC might cause "perturbations of the universe" by generating subatomic particles called strangelets.
If certain hypotheses are correct, once a strangelet comes into contact with regular matter, it would set off a chain reaction that ends much in the way that "Cat's Cradle" did, with the planet Earth and all its inhabitants converted into a ball of strange matter.
No particle accelerator has yet produced a glimpse of a strangelet, and scientists haven't yet found any strange matter on the surfaces of neutron stars, where it should be if the theory holds up.
Yet the Moon has existed for 5 billion years without being devoured by a ravenous strangelet.
If a strangelet fell onto a neutron star, the conversion of the whole star might take less than a day, says Norman K.