News Physics

Protons smaller than formerly believed?

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File:Quark structure proton.svg
proton showing quark structure/ Arpad Horvath

From New Scientist:

Until recently, it was unthinkable to question the size of the proton. Its radius is so well known that it appears on lists of nature’s fundamental constants, alongside the speed of light and the charge of an electron. So when Randolf Pohl and his colleagues set out to make the most accurate measurement of the proton yet, they expected to just put a few more decimal places on the end of the official value. Instead this group of more than 30 researchers has shaken the world of atomic physics. Their new measurement wasn’t just more accurate, it was decidedly lower. The proton had apparently been on a diet.

Another of the fats, Facts, FACTS down the tube.

FACTS are ever the enemy of, well, facts.

2 Replies to “Protons smaller than formerly believed?

  1. 1
    Barb says:

    Conservation laws rule the physical world. Nothing can happen that violates a conservation law: there are no lawbreakers among the citizens of the world of elementary particles. If an electron were to decay into one of these lighter particles it would have to get rid of its charge but it cannot because that would violate the law of charge conservation. It cannot decay into heavier charged particles because that would violate the law of mass conservation So the electron cannot decay because there is simply ‘no place to go.’ The proton is stable because it would need to violate a different conservation law to decay.

    If facts about atomic physics can be changed, I wonder if we’ll see changes in these laws (or at least our understanding of them) in the future.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is the entire story that you can read for free on line:

    Particle puzzle: Honey, I shrunk the proton – July 20, 2013
    http://stirling-westrup-tt.blo.....ney-i.html

    Very interesting puzzle to read about:

    The article/puzzle reminded me of this video I watched the other day, by Richard Feynman who was one of the founding fathers of QED, on the conflict between mathematicians and physicists:

    Feynman: Mathematicians versus Physicists
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obCjODeoLVw

    Quote of note at the 6:45 minute mark:

    “It always bothers me that in spite of all this local business, what goes on in a tiny, no matter how tiny, region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time, according to laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out. Now how can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do?
    – Richard Feynman

    Notes:

    Particle puzzle: Honey, I shrunk the proton – July 20, 2013
    Excerpt: QED showed that to predict orbital energies precisely, you had to consider all the ways an electron could emit photons. For instance, an electron might emit a photon then immediately reabsorb it. Or it might emit two photons at once. Or, en route to the nucleus, a photon might temporarily split into a particle-antiparticle pair. In fact, QED showed that there are infinite possibilities, all of which help to determine the electron orbits by varying amounts. To predict the energy of a particular orbit, you don’t need to add up all these possibilities – you would be there forever. Instead, by considering the biggest QED contributions first, then the next biggest and so on, you can progressively make your prediction more accurate. QED is like a box of measuring tools: to get a rough measurement you might start off with a metre stick, but to improve precision you might get out a centimetre rule, and finally a pair of callipers.
    http://stirling-westrup-tt.blo.....ney-i.html

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe.
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    Myself, as a Christian Theist, I find it rather comforting to know that it takes an ‘infinite amount of logic to figure out what one stinky tiny bit of space-time is going to do’:

    John1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is the root word from which we derive our modern word logic
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    Music:

    More Like Falling In Love – Jason Gray
    http://myktis.com/songs/more-like-falling-in-love/

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