Science | November 6, 2017 10:00 am

Scientists Nearly Kept This Subatomic Discovery Secret

"I must admit that when I first realized that such a reaction was possible, I was scared."

Hydrogen bomb explosion. (U.S. Dept. of Energy)
Hydrogen bomb explosion. (U.S. Dept. of Energy)

Scientists who recently discovered that small particles can theoretically collide and create a “quarksplosion” eight times more powerful than the nuclear fusion events that occur in hydrogen bombs told Live Science they considered not publishing the discovery.

“If I thought for a microsecond that this had any military applications, I would not have published it,” said Marek Karliner, a particle physicist at Tel Aviv University in Israel who co-authored the paper with Jonathan L. Rosner, from the University of Chicago. The two published their findings this week in the journal Nature.

“I must admit that when I first realized that such a reaction was possible, I was scared,” Karliner noted. “But, luckily, it is a one-trick pony.”