Production and Decay of Strange Particles

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"Production and Decay of Strange Particles"
The Outer Limits episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 30
Directed by Leslie Stevens
Written by Leslie Stevens
Cinematography by Kenneth Peach
Production code 30
Original air date April 20, 1964
Recurring/Guest appearances
Episode chronology
← Previous
"A Feasibility Study"
Next →
"The Chameleon"
List of The Outer Limits episodes

"Production and Decay of Strange Particles" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 20 April 1964, during the first season.

The plot involves workers at a nuclear research plant wearing radiation suits, who are taken over by some odd glowing substance that fills their suits and causes them to act as puppets of the force inside.

Mentioned in the episode are many modern physics concepts such as neutrinos, antimatter, quasi-stellar objects (at that time just discovered and perhaps mentioned here in TV fiction for the first time) and subatomic particles with the property of "strangeness" (a perhaps unfortunately named quantum property of matter which had been chosen a few years before by physicists, despite objection at the time that it was no more "strange" or odd than any other property of subatomic particles). The episode name is close to that of an actual Physical Review paper of 1956, titled "Cloud-Chamber Study of the Production and Decay of Strange Particles."[1]

Opening narration[edit]

In recent years, nuclear physicists have discovered a strange world of sub-atomic particles, fragments of atoms smaller than the imagination can picture, fragments of materials which do not obey the laws of gravity. Antimatter composed of inside-out material; shadow-matter that can penetrate ten miles of lead shielding. Hidden deep in the heart of strange new elements are secrets beyond human understanding - new powers, new dimensions, worlds within worlds, unknown.


While experimenting on sub-atomic particles, a team of physics researchers start a chain reaction that seemingly controls the researchers themselves. As one scientist after another is consumed and turned into nuclear 'zombies' by what seems to be a form of sentient particles from another dimension, the reaction grows towards a terrible climax, and the survivors fear they may be powerless to stop it. Just as the ever-expanding particles are about to engulf the lab and explode into an atomic cataclysm that could destroy the world, the head of the research facility calculates a formula to reverse the effects of the reaction, incorporates a random element, and succeeds in desensitizing the new lifeform, rendering it powerless.

Closing narration[edit]

As Man explores the secrets of the universe, strange and inscrutable powers await him. And whether these powers are to become forces of destruction or forces of construction will ultimately depend upon simple but profound human qualities: Inspiration. Integrity. Courage.



  1. ^ Trilling, G. H.; Leighton, R. B (1956). "Cloud-Chamber Study of the Production and Decay of Strange Particles". Physical Review. American Physical Society. 104 (6): 1703–1710. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.104.1703. 

External links[edit]