Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quarks 'swing' to the tones of random numbers

28.09.2010
At the Large Hadron Collider at CERN protons crash into each other at incredibly high energies in order to 'smash' the protons and to study the elementary particles of nature – including quarks.

Quarks are found in each proton and are bound together by forces which cause all other known forces of nature to fade. To understand the effects of these strong forces between the quarks is one of the greatest challenges in modern particle physics.

New theoretical results from the Niels Bohr Institute show that enormous quantities of random numbers can describe the way in which quarks 'swing' inside the protons. The results have been published in arXiv and will be published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Just as we must subject ourselves, for example, to the laws of gravity and not just float around weightless, quarks in protons are also subject to the laws of physics. Quarks are one of the universe's smallest, known building blocks. Each proton inside the atomic nucleus is made up of three quarks and the forces between the quarks are so strong that they can never – under normal circumstances, escape the protons

Left- and right-handed quarks

The quarks combined charges give the proton its charge. But if you add up the masses of the quarks you do not get the mass of the proton. Instead, the mass of the proton is dependent on how the quarks swing. The oscillations of the quarks are also central for a variety of physical phenomena. That is why researchers have worked for years to find a theoretical method for describing the oscillations of quarks.

The two lightest quarks, 'up' and 'down' quarks, are so light that they can be regarded as massless in practice. There are two types of such massless quarks, which might be called left-handed and right-handed. The mathematical equation governing quarks' movements show that the left-handed quarks swing independently of the right-handed. But in spite of the equation being correct, the left-handed quarks love to 'swing' with the right-handed.

Spontaneous symmetry breaking

"Even though this sounds like a contradiction, it is actually a cornerstone of theoretical physics. The phenomenon is called spontaneous symmetry breaking and it is quite easy to illustrate", explains Kim Splittorff, Associate Professor and theoretical particle physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute, and gives an example: A dance floor is filled with people dancing to rhythmic music. The male dancers represent the left-handed quarks and the female dancers the right-handed quarks. All dance without dance partners and therefore all can dance around freely. Now the DJ puts on a slow dance and the dancers pair off. Suddenly, they cannot spin around freely by themselves. The male (left-handed) and female (right-handed) dancers can only spin around in pairs by agreeing on it. We say that the symmetry 'each person swings around, independent of all others' is broken into a different symmetry 'a pair can swing around, independent of other pairs'.

Similarly for quarks, it is the simple solution that the left-handed do not swing with the right-handed. But a more stabile solution is that they hold onto each other. This is spontaneous symmetry breaking.

Dance to random tones

"Over several years it became increasingly clear that the way in which the left-handed and right-handed quarks come together can be described using a massive quantities of random numbers. These random numbers are elements in a matrix, which one may think of as a Soduko filled in at random. In technical jargon these are called Random Matrices", explains Kim Splittorff, who has developed the new theory together with Poul Henrik Damgaard, Niels Bohr International Academy and Discovery Center and Jac Verbaarschot, Stony Brook, New York.

Even though random numbers are involved, what comes out is not entirely random. You could say that the equation that determines the oscillations of the quarks give rise to a dance determined by random notes. This description of quarks has proven to be extremely useful for researchers who are looking for a precise numerical description of the quarks inside a proton.

It requires some of the most advanced supercomputers in the world to make calculations about the quarks in a proton. The central question that the supercomputers are chewing on is how closely the left-handed and right-handed quarks 'dance' together. These calculations can also show why the quarks remain inside the protons.

One problem up until now has been that these numerical descriptions have to use an approximation to the 'real' equation for the quarks. Now the three researchers have shown how to correct for this so that the quarks in the numerical calculations also 'swing' correctly to random numbers.

New understanding of the data

"Using our results we can now describe the numerical calculations from large research groups at CERN and leading universities very accurately", says Kim Splittorff.

"What is new about our work is that not only the exact equation for quarks, but also the approximation, which researchers who work numerically have to use, can be described using random matrices. It is already extremely surprising that the exact equation shows that the quarks swing by random numbers. It is even more exciting that the approximation used for the equation has a completely analogous description. Having an accurate analytical description available for the numerical simulations is a powerful tool that provides an entirely new understanding of the numerical data. In particular, we can now measure very precisely how closely the right-handed and left-handed quarks are dancing", he says about the new perspectives in the world of particle physics.

Article in arXiv: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1001.2937v3

Kontact:

Kim Splittorff, Associate Professor, PhD in theoretical high energy physics.
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
+45 3532-5359, split@nbi.dk

Gertie Skaarup | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nbi.dk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Extremely close look at electron advances frontiers in particle physics
19.10.2018 | National Science Foundation

nachricht Blue phosphorus -- mapped and measured for the first time
16.10.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mineral discoveries in the Galapagos Islands pose a puzzle as to their formation and origin

19.10.2018 | Earth Sciences

Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

New method uses just a drop of blood to monitor lung cancer treatment

19.10.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>