Curated by RSF Research Staff
The Proton spin crisis
Baryons like the proton are commonly described as being a composite particle comprised of 3 valence quarks held together by gluons. Yet, even under the Standard Model this simplistic explanation is erroneous. Within the Standard Model, the proton is "an ocean of shifting quarks and gluons"; there are innumerable quarks and anti-quarks (mesons), gluons, and a sea of particles emanating from the vacuum.
As Theoretical Physicist Matt Strassler explains it:
"You may have heard that a proton is made from three quarks. Indeed here are several pages that say so. This is a lie — a white lie, but a big one. In fact there are zillions of gluons, antiquarks, and quarks in a proton. The standard shorthand, “the proton is made from two up quarks and one down quark”, is really a statement that the proton has two more up quarks than up antiquarks, and one more down quark than down antiquarks. To make the glib shorthand correct you need to add the phrase “plus zillions of gluons and zillions of quark-antiquark pairs.” Without this phrase, one’s view of the proton is so simplistic that it is not possible to understand the LHC at all."
With such a chaotic model, the consensus view of the proton has obfuscated physicists ability to make even the most elementary predictions of the proton, such as the source of its mass, radius, and spin.
Another common falsehood that is propagated is that the Higgs mechanism explains the mass of the proton, it doesn't; it only accounts for about 1% of the mass, which is contributed from the quarks. So, the Higgs mechanism does not account for 99% of the mass of all matter. Where then does the rest of the mass of the proton come from? It comes from the energetic fluctuations of the quantum vacuum.
Similarly, there is the proton radius problem and the spin crisis. Muonic measurements of the proton indicated a charge radius significantly smaller than what the Standard Model predicted. As well, the proton spin crisis resulted when experimentation indicated that quarks account for little-to-none of the proton's spin.
A true grand unified theory would be able to explain these elementary characteristics of the proton from fundamental principles. While this is obviously not found in the Standard Model, physicist Nassim Haramein has provided a first-principles explanation for these basic characteristics of the proton, as well as explaining the source of the confinement force, charge, and how gravity and mass arise from the quantum structure of space. Within Haramein's unified framework there is no spin crisis -- in addition to curvature spacetime has torque, or spin, that imparts to systems like the proton an intrinsic spin.