First Measurement of proton may provide insight on the afterlife
For years scientists believed that it would be impossible to measure how much pressure was contained within a proton, but physicists have done just that by shooting protons with high-energy electrons and the results were far more exciting than anyone could have thought.
Researcher, Latifa Elouadrhiri and from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and his team were able to shoot the proton with high-energy electrons and found that the push and pull of the proton’s trio of quarks offered much information into the proton’s structure. In an effort to give full credence to his findings, Elouadrhiri explains the previous understanding that scientists held about protons in that they were compared to man’s understanding of the human heart. In an interview with Nature he said:
“We have the medical 3D imaging technology that now allows the doctors to learn more in a non-invasive manner the structure of the heart, and this is what we want to do with the new generation of experiments.”
While it has been known that protons consist of three quarks—two ‘up’ and one ‘down’—that are bound together by the strong nuclear force, little else was known about the internal structure. The primary question about protons involved the repulsion that prevented them from collapsing into a point. In order to measure how those pieces would come together, the researchers focused on the energy and momentum of the proton’s internal parts that are encoded in gravitational form factors. Basically, it was discovered that electrons could be used as a substitute for a gravitational probe.
In order for researchers to do this, they used a process called Compton scattering, a process that is used to describe the interaction between protons consisting of light and a charged particle like electrons. For this experiment the researchers increased the acceleration of the electron as a means of narrowing its wavelength enough that it would penetrate the proton. Once the photons were produced, the researchers combined the details of the scattered photons with data they had on the proton and electron to figure out how the quarks reacted. It was the scattering that gave the researchers an energy map of momentum they needed in order for them to be able to describe the outward pressure in the center of the proton that prevented it from collapsing.
What they learned was that the quark hug was equal to 100 decillion pascal—which is a one followed by three zeros.
To get a better idea of what this would look like you would have to imagine a neutron star which is so dense with matter that is squeezed so tightly together that you can liken it to a mountain being squeezed into a teaspoon sized mound. This would make the quark pressure 10 times greater within the proton. This experiment will be useful in helping scientists understand more about whether or not protons decay and perhaps even give an idea of how long it would take at some point.
A look into the infinite lifespan of all things material from a subatomic perspective
If you have read my previous works you already know that I have an invested interest in gaining an understanding of how the universe operates on a molecular or quantum level as it relates to the consciousness. It is my hope that this experiment and those it may spawn in the future will be able to provide me with insight into the lifespan of the building blocks of the universe, which I hope will give me a better understanding of an individual’s place in the universe after death. Let’s just say that for now, my wheels are turning.
This research was published in Nature.