The structure of the proton is under the microscope at the U.S. Department of Energys Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Virginia, where a series of experiments continues to produce unexpected results.
The shape of the proton can differ, depending on the angular momentum of quarks.
(Gerald A. Miller/University of Washington)
Simple theories of proton structure say that the way electric charge is distributed in the proton is the same as the magnetization distribution. But Jefferson Lab results indicate these distributions are definitely different.
A fundamental goal of nuclear physics is to understand the structure and behavior of strongly interacting matter in terms of its building blocks, quarks and gluons. An important step toward this goal is a description of the internal structure for the proton and neutron, collectively known as nucleons. Jefferson Lab was built, in part, to study the physics of quarks and gluons and their connection to larger composite objects like protons.
Linda Ware | Jefferson Lab
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