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Author Topic: Proton is Smaller Than Thought, New Measurement Finds  (Read 1745 times)
Phoenix
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« Topic Start: July 08, 2010, 06:41:19 pm »

The proton, one of the most well-known and basic building blocks of matter, turns out to be holding on to a few secrets. A new measurement found that the radius of the proton is about 4 percent smaller than previously thought.

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/proton-smaller-than-thought-100707.html
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« Reply #1: July 08, 2010, 06:44:41 pm »

If the new value is confirmed, it could mean some rewriting of basic physics is in order.
Perhaps the value of the so-called Rydberg constant, which is used to calculate the proton's size, is off. If that is the case, other fundamental calculations will need revising, too.
Or, perhaps the entire theory describing this and other particles – quantum electrodynamics – is misunderstood.

If the data hold up, the implications could be huge
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« Reply #2: July 08, 2010, 10:02:02 pm »

If the data hold up, the implications could be huge

Maybe. It would depend on what is wrong. If we have the wrong value for the Rydberg constant, the implications may not be that huge (although resulting adjustments needed to our values for small other physical constants might be more toward "huge"). However, if quantum electrodynamics (the theory describing what is going on with these subatomic particles) is somehow not quite right -- that would indeed be huge.
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