Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Sunday, August 19, 2007

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.


Blogger 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.

August 19, 2007 5:29 PM  
Blogger 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.

August 20, 2007 8:39 AM  

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