Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Model Of Atomic Forces May Help Explain Proton Structure

Date:
April 24, 1998
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a new model of atomic forces that may solve a long-standing problem in particle physics.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a new model of atomic forces that may solve a long-standing problem in particle physics.

The work may aid the understanding of the structure of protons and other particles that contain quarks because it begins to reconcile physicist Richard Feynman’s 1970s model of the proton with modern views of the quark structure of sub-atomic particles.

“We’re hoping our work will make it easier for people who work with the quark model to calculate a lot of experimental information,” said Kenneth Wilson, professor of physics at Ohio State and 1982 Nobel Laureate in Physics. “Right now, the equations that describe proton structure are very complicated.”

Wilson helps to lead the research group for this project, which includes Robert Perry, also professor of physics, and Stan Glazek, a frequent visitor to Ohio State and associate professor of physics from Warsaw University. The researchers discussed their model April 18 at the 1998 American Physical Society meeting in Columbus.

Physicists have a hard time mathematically describing the structure of the proton, because the particle is supposed to be surrounded by a cloud of virtual particles that blink in and out of existence all the time, severely complicating the equations.

In the early 1970s, Feynman, a former physicist at Caltech, devised a way for physicists to separate the proton’s constituents from these virtual particles -- mathematically, at least. He suggested that a proton moving at the speed of light could outrun the slower virtual particles so physicists could observe its constituents on their own. He envisaged the proton’s constituents as being just three fundamental particles called quarks. This greatly simplified the mathematics.

Physicists now hypothesize that protons are made up of quarks and other fundamental particles called gluons, and that the massless and neutrally charged gluons bind quarks together.

The current theory is much more complicated than Feynman’s: The connection between quarks and gluons is supposed to be so strong that smashing a proton in a particle accelerator would release not just three quarks as Feynman predicted, but a shower of quarks, anti-quarks, and gluons.

Still, Feynman’s ideas provided for simple equations that matched experimental results concerning the energy states of protons.

“The question was, once we had this very complex quark theory, why did Feynman’s simple model still work so well? No one has ever been able to figure out why. In fact, the problem became so difficult that people just gave up,” said Wilson.

Wilson and his colleagues have formulated a new picture of quark-gluon interaction. They think that gluons may bind strongly to each other but not so strongly to quarks. That would prevent quarks from escaping easily during experiments, but also allow for Feynman’s simpler mathematical model.

“The coupling of gluons to each other is quite strong, and that coupling confines quarks inside the proton,” explained Wilson.

With this theory, when the bonds between gluons are broken, the reaction emits mostly other gluons. Extra particles such as anti-quarks and virtual particles don’t emerge because no strong bonds exist between quarks. Even gluons should be rarely emitted because, in the new theory, they are expected to have high masses, making them hard to produce.

This work, which was sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation, is in the preliminary stages, and the Ohio State researchers will continue to develop it mathematically. But even before then, they hope other physicists will explore the new theory as well.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "New Model Of Atomic Forces May Help Explain Proton Structure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980424032133.htm>.
Ohio State University. (1998, April 24). New Model Of Atomic Forces May Help Explain Proton Structure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980424032133.htm
Ohio State University. "New Model Of Atomic Forces May Help Explain Proton Structure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/04/980424032133.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins