Study of quark speeds finds a solution for a 35-year physics mystery

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 13:30 in Physics & Chemistry

MIT physicists now have an answer to a question in nuclear physics that has puzzled scientists for three decades: Why do quarks move more slowly inside larger atoms? Quarks, along with gluons, are the fundamental building blocks of the universe. These subatomic particles — the smallest particles we know of — are far smaller, and operate at much higher energy levels, than the protons and neutrons in which they are found. Physicists have therefore assumed that a quark should be blithely indifferent to the characteristics of the protons and neutrons, and the overall atom, in which it resides. But in 1983, physicists at CERN, as part of the European Muon Collaboration (EMC), observed for the first time what would become known as the EMC effect: In the nucleus of an iron atom containing many protons and neutrons, quarks move significantly more slowly than quarks in deuterium, which contains a single proton and...

Read the whole article on MIT Research

More from MIT Research

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net