So lets just take a quick look to see how they add up.
and a Down-Quark weighs in at 4.5-5.3 (MeV/c2)
So Two Up Quarks ~ 3.6 to 6.0 MeV/c2
Added to One Down Quark ~ 4.5 to 5.3 MeV/c2
Total ~ 8.1 to 11.3 MeV/c2
Whoa ! That doesn’t add up. This means a Proton is more than 83 times heavier that the three quarks !
Wait a minute. Lets try that again with the new values calculated by Lattice Quantum ChromoDynamics —
4.0 MeV (two Up Quarks)
+ 4.8 MeV(one Down Quark)
= 938 MeV
No – it still doesn’t add up. They only reach a maximum of about 8.9 MeV.
What’s going on here?
According to Prof Strassler (who makes lots of sense in his other particle physics articles) a proton is made up of “zillions (meaning “too many and too changeable to count usefully”) of lightweight particles called quarks, antiquarks and gluons.”
Wow. That stopped me in my tracks the first time I read it. This is stunning and exciting.
He goes on to say “It is impossible to describe the proton’s structure simply, or draw simple pictures, because it’s highly disorganized. All the quarks and antiquarks and gluons inside are rushing around as fast as possible, at nearly the speed of light.”
Except for the “it’s highly disorganized” I’m willing to try this out.
Let me respectfully suggest that because every proton acts identically (every proton from your fingernail to far reaches of the Universe) and never decays, that proton component particles are not just organized, but perfectly choreographed. Meaning there ARE solutions to the Three-body and N-body problems – We just haven’t found them yet!
Apparently the three original quarks are “valence” quarks and the remaining quarks are “virtual.”
Its still stuns me that there are so many more tinier things zooming around inside a proton; a particle I was taught was almost fundamental just a short while ago.
“The remainder of the proton mass is due to the kinetic energy of the quarks and to the energy of the gluon fields that bind the quarks together.“
What does that mean? That makes me wonder – How can binding energy turn into kinetic energy? Aren’t they opposites? and Does this mean a quark’s kinetic energy reduces with lower temperatures?
How intriguing that the humble proton could be made up of so much more amazing structure that we have yet to discern. I’m wondering how the Particle Standard Model predicts this . . .
What do you think of this?
The only other remaining mystery is why CERN or DESY hasn’t snagged Prof Strassler yet. He has an extraordinary ability, and a keen interest, in making complex particle physics ideas clear (and even fun) for the rest of us. (and No, I have no affiliation with Prof Strassler, and you should not imply that he endorses my opinions.)