What is a Proton, Anyway?
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 quarksand 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.
This is a useful piece of information even if one doesn't necessarily agree with the notion of isolated particle balls whizzing around and colliding with each other which seems to be the only way particle physicists want to present their ideas. Even in this article Strassler literally draws a picture with symbols to represent the proton!!!! And he thinks this helps???
|Matt Strassler's illustration of the Proton. Is he kidding??|
Even if we take the above quote at face value the questions are
Where do all these zillions of gluons and quark-antiquark pairs come from?
What are their forms and other properties???
What is their relation to all other protons and neutrons of the Universe?
Do they just appear out of thin space???
Maybe they are threads, like life lines ending on all other protons and neutrons of the Universe and this might be the reason that the motion of the atomic 'center point' is so complex. . . The atom is a centralization, a permanent bundle of gazillions of these fundamental objects with unique properties. These fundamental objects are literally fed from every single other atom of the Universe so that there is a perfect continuity and interconnection between all. Even Pope Francis said in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si:
It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. . . not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation.
If every single atom is always taking on a succession of locations(motion) then this would instantaneously influence every single other proton or neutron of the Universe. The proton or neutron has to constantly adjust itself or shift itself or reform itself to maintain its inherent connection to all others via the fundamental object which is probably thread-like. And it uses these inherent constituents as axles of atomic motion. This is to some degree unpredictable. And its not like these threads are ever going to literally annihilate or be created. They are always there. Just impossible to detect individually unless there is a collision of protons where all these threads fight for a single location. When the threads are all bunched and crunched together, superposing to a critical maximum number we have a degeneracy reaction, a push. . . hence the repulsion when protons and neutrons are .7 femtometers from each other.
Modern physicists tend to think too much in an isolated vacuum. If the atom were isolated from all others perhaps motion would be impossible. Modern physics is also lost in abstractions. Look again at the picture above. We don't need equations of motion, differential geometry, or symbols to understand and appreciate the complexity of the proton and neutron. As enough data is fed in everyday to last until the Sun explodes, all we need do at this point is stand back and think about it. . .