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The simple hydrogen core turns out to be surprisingly charming

The simple hydrogen core turns out to be surprisingly charming

The simplest atomic nucleus, the hydrogen nucleus, appears to have three building blocks. But if you look closely, you will find that it is a mess of other particles that briefly appear and disappear. Physicists have found that so-called charm quarks also appear from time to time.

The nucleus of a hydrogen atom is one proton. At first glance, such a proton appears to consist of three quarks (two up quarks and one down quark), held together by particles called gluons. But there is more. In addition to this rule, quarks and other antiquarks (their Antimatter counterparts). A group of physicists discovered this complex structure of the proton Describe it accurately now, by combining thousands of measurements from different experiments. “We’re giving our best picture of the proton yet,” he says. Juan Rojo, who works at the Amsterdam Research Institute Nikhef and at VU University Amsterdam.

The formation of the proton is in fact the basis of all the matter that makes up us and the world around us. Protons are found in all the nuclei of an atom.

enchanting sea

In the picture physicists draw of the proton’s structure, strange quarks and antiquarks appear regularly, as well as up and down quarks. Earlier it turned out that in this sea of ​​quarks something More antifall quarks emerge than antiquarks. Furthermore, analyzes show that charm quarks may also be part of the proton’s formation. An exciting result, because the existence of charm quarks has been hotly debated for forty years.

Coincidentally, a few days later the theoretical analysis also appeared Article from an experiment at CERN .’s LHC particle accelerator This also indicates the presence of charm quarks in the proton. “Our results seem to agree well with the new LHC measurements,” says Rogaux. “We’re very excited about that, because it’s an independent measurement that has nothing to do with our analysis.” This increases the possibility that charm and antimagic quarks are indeed roaming the sea of ​​quarks inside the proton.

“However, the results of the two studies are ‘controversial’ and remain controversial,” Rogaux added. Future measurements will show whether protons are really as charming as they seem now.

Artificial intelligence

For the analysis, the researchers used Computer programs with artificial intelligence. “We were able to get a picture of the proton’s structure without making assumptions beforehand,” says Rogo. The code they used is available to everyone. We believe strongly open flag And share all your code, data, and analytics. We believe this is the most productive and powerful form of science.”

The presence of charm quarks was only part of the analysis. “Our goal was to understand as closely as possible the entire structure of the proton,” says Rogo. “So how do up, down, strange, and charm quarks behave in protons?” The result describes the result of the experiments to the nearest one percent.

According to Rogo, the proton separation has not yet closed. “I don’t think charm quarks are the last surprise the proton has in store for us.”