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Name: Unknown
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

I have two questions. First, I have seen reference to "cosmic strings", and was wondering exactly what these are. Second, is there a way to construct some kind of detector for particles? I have heard of a homemade cloud chamber, but this uses dry ice, of which I do not know any readily available sources of. Is there any kind of rudimentary detector that could be built at home using fairly common and easily obtainable items?

Cosmic strings are hypothetical entities based on some ideas from particle physics that there is some kind of background "field" of some sort that permeates the universe, and that can have slightly different values in different places, such that singularities in the field value can occur along lines called strings. When you go around the string, this field value looks like it is traveling around a circle, and so as you approach the string from different directions, the field has different values, and those different values must all be made to agree somehow at the center of the string. This creates a very high energy defect in the structure of the universe. If such a string closed in on itself, it would release a whole lot of energy by ontracting and disappearing.

Arthur Smith

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