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Scientists say the internal pressure of a proton is 10 times greater than a neutron star





Researchers first measured the pressure in a proton. The subatomic particle has 10 times the internal pressure of a neutron star.
( Dimitris Christou | Pixabay )

Scientists have been studying protons for many years to determine how they work, and now the internal pressure of a proton has finally been calculated.

What was discovered about protons?

For the first time ever, researchers have calculated the pressure within a proton, a subatomic particle in the nucleus of every atom. They found that the pressure in the middle of a proton is about a million trillion trillion times the magnitude of the Earth's atmospheric pressure.

This calculation is about ten times the pressure inside a neutron star, which is a dense, dead star that can take billions of years to complete.

The results were published on May 1

6 in the journal Nature .

"It's really the highest pressure we've ever seen," said physicist Volker Burkert, a co-author of the study

An intense, record-breaking pressure pushes outward from the center of the proton. There is also an opposite internal pressure emanating from the periphery of the proton.

"Neutron stars are among the densest objects we know in the universe," Burkert told Gizmodo. "It's an order of magnitude bigger than that. It could be the record of pressure on Earth."

How scientists discovered the pressure of a proton?

For years, scientists have tried to calculate the pressure of the proton, but they were unable to do it. This research group followed a different method. First, they used data from the Large Acceptance Spectrometer of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, a particle detector.

The researchers shot electrons on hydrogen, which contain many protons. They then recorded the interactions of the quarks within the proton.

During the research, they did not study the gluons because the experiment did not get enough energy from the electrons. They appreciated the pressure of gluons in the final analysis.

Future Impact on Protons

The researchers hope that their findings will help other scientists gain new insights into how protons work.

"Our results have also shed light on the distribution of strong force within the proton," said Burkert. "We provide a way to visualize the strength and distribution of strong forces within the proton, opening up a whole new direction in nuclear and particle physics that can be explored in the future."

In future experiments, researchers will use the same strategies to determine aspects such as the mechanical radius of the proton.

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