Til A Proton Decay

The lack of suppression of spectral lines blueward of Lyman $\alpha$ for high redshift quasars indicates that most of the intergalactic hydrogen is ionised. That’s a lot of protons to worry about. As Carl Brannen pointed out, protons may be thought of as mixtures of quark triples: uud or udu or duu. Similarly, a neutron is a mixture of triples such as the one drawn.
The numbers at the bottom indicate the number of twists on an (appropriately coloured) strand, each representing a charge of e/3. Thus the neutron has a total zero charge. In the full triple of diagrams there are three -1 charges to make up an electron, three 0 charges to make up an antineutrino and three +1 charges to make up a proton. On the other hand, for the proton each such diagram is labelled by charges 0,1 or 2. This cannot be split up into a positron and neutrino set because that would leave three strands with a +2 charge, which certainly could not make up a neutron.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    L. Riofrio said,

    I hope that Carl B’s ideas continue to get wider play. This makes a good companion to M-theory Lesson 86 with the triples. Barnnen is way ahead of Smolin and others.

  2. 2

    Kea said,

    Thanks, Louise. It is very odd that so few people like to play with these simple, but fascinating, pictures. Carl has written another interesting post today.

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