If you think it’s just three quarks held together by gluons, you’ll want to read this.
At a fundamental level, the Universe is composed of indivisible particles.
Every structure contains “uncuttable” constituents that cannot be divided further.
Even protons and neutrons are composite: containing fundamental quarks and gluons.
There aren’t just three quarks inside each one, but a sea of particles.
Since quarks have:
- electric charge,
- color charge,
- and weak force couplings,
they interact with all known particles.
The more energetically you look inside a proton, the denser this “sea” of internal particles appears.
Deep inelastic scattering helps reveal these particles and antiparticles by smashing protons together.
It’s a numbers game: more collisions at higher energies increases our odds.
With dark matter, dark energy, and many other unexplained phenomena out there, the Standard Model alone cannot explain everything.
While astrophysicists look “outward” to explore the Universe, particle physicists look “inward” at matter itself.
In tandem, both fields help scientists understand the Universe’s structure, nature, rules, and composition.
The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has revealed many of the Standard Model’s secrets, but nothing beyond it.
More data at higher energies increases the probability of discovering something fundamentally new.
Future colliders at higher energies provide experimental physics’s best hope of finding something novel inside the proton.
Mostly Mute Monday tells a scientific story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.
Starts With A Bang is written by Ethan Siegel, Ph.D., author of Beyond The Galaxy, and Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive.