If the idea of a neutron having three differently-charged parts seems familiar, it may be because in quantum physics, neutrons are said to be made of three smaller particles called quarks: one "up" quark with a charge of +2/3, and two "down" quarks with a charge of -1/3. When joined together, the three quarks have a charge of zero.
Miller's findings would seem to suggest an actual physical location for these quarks within a neutron, but the truth, he said, is much more complicated.
"We're not taking about location as much as we are talking about density," he said. "What we are saying is the probability of finding a particular charge density is a function of distance. Quarks are constantly moving within a neutron, so this tells us the odds of finding more of them in one area over another."
The connection between quarks and charge location also breaks down when examining the proton, said Miller.
While a proton is made up of one down quark and two up quarks, the same accelerator tests found the proton was positively charged throughout, with the middle region possessing a stronger charge than the interior and exterior.
It's an up quark and two down quarks. The up quark is positively charged and the down quarks are negatively charged. Could they be seeing the effects of the quarks with this experiment?
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