Searching for the rules that govern hadron construction

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Just as quantum electrodynamics describes how electrons are bound in atoms by the electromagnetic force, mediated by the exchange of photons, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) describes how quarks are bound inside hadrons by the strong force, mediated by the exchange of gluons. QCD seems to allow hadrons constructed from increasingly many quarks to exist, just as atoms with increasing numbers of electrons exist, yet such complex constructions seemed, until recently, not to be present in nature. Here we describe advances in the spectroscopy of mesons that are refining our understanding of the rules for predicting hadron structure from QCD.

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