It is not often that you see lots of Quarks together. In fact you cannot see Quarks at all, but you can detect if they are there. They are very, very small particles that travel very, very fast. It has taken lots of brilliant scientists a long time using a huge machine called a ‘Large Hadron Collider’ to learn what Quarks are like.

Not long ago the scientists at CERN in Switzerland sent some Quarks to Italy as part of an experiment. The results were amazing. Some of the Quarks arrived early and others were late. Some scientists think that the speedy Quarks travelled faster than light. Others said, that is not possible.

I think the reason is Queue, a very special Quark, who is a bottom, down, strange Quark. Queue is fascinating, not only to scientists, but also to other Quarks. Someone who is different is often of great interest to others. Something odd going on is sure to attract a crowd of observers. You may have heard the term ‘rubber-necking’, well that’s what I mean.

Wherever Queue is a crowd always gathers. Sometimes the crowd mills around not sure what is going on. Sometimes they follow Queue in a long line, like a snake sliding across the ground. It has even been observed that Quarks appear, apparently out of nowhere, as a flash gathering when Queue is spotted.

So what happened when Quarks were send through the centre of the earth on their journey from Switzerland to Italy? I think Queue was involved. Some of the Quarks were so busy watching Queue that they slowed down and so arrived late. Others heard that Queue was ahead so they took a short cut to catch up.

When one of the chief scientists was interviewed about this very strange phenomenon, the conversation turned to the relationship between Quarks and Photons. The scientist was quoted as saying, “When you are studying very small particles you must distinguish between your Ps and Qs.”

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