In high school physics, I learned that it took a long time before the top quark was discovered. One of the reasons that was given in my book was that the top quark has a large mass, much larger than the other 5 quarks, and there just wasn't a powerful enough particle accelerator to produce large energies.
In such an experiment, do high speed particles just collide and energy is just given off that can be converted to mass? Is this how quarks are produced?
As far as I can understand, in a particle collision, large energy is produced and this is converted to mass i.e. a top quark in this case. However, I also learned that individual quarks cannot exist and hadrons form... so how did scientists get an individual quark?
If the top quark was formed from energy, it must mean that there was a "pair production" and an anti-top quark is also supposed to be produced. So, does the collision have to produce energy that is equivalent to the mass of two top quarks?