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Atomic Particles Taste Good

Quantum entanglement, which Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," occurs when two atomic particles are split apart, but still INSTANTLY copy each other--no matter HOW far away from each other they are (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show).

Scientists speculate that tiny atomic particles--the building blocks of the universe--come in six different flavors. But they're so tiny that if you tasted one, would you even notice?

Actually, this isn't the same thing we non-scientists mean when WE use the word "flavor." To quantum physicists (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) use the word to describe the characteristics of the different types of particles they've discovered: up, down, top, bottom, strange and charm. In particle physics, the various flavors of quarks and leptons are differentiated by their individual properties, including mass, charge and spin.

What's even stranger is that particles are able to switch from one flavor to another: Quarks can turn into up quarks, and charm quarks can turn into strange quarks.

In LiveScience.com, Clara Moskowitz quotes theoretical physicist JoAnne Hewett as saying, "This is known as the flavor problem. Why are there so many flavors? Why do we have six types of quarks and six types of leptons, and why do they have the different masses that they do? We don't have a clue."

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