For the first time, Physicists at MIT have calculated the pressure distribution of a proton. Early it was only speculated that proton has a high-pressure core but finally it has been confirmed. It was founded that at the peek pressure in a proton, it was generating a pressure gradient which exceeded that of a neutron star.
To give you a perspective, Neuton star is considered to be one of the densest known objects in the universe. If a list of the densest known object is ever prepared then a neutron star would stand among the top. A neutron star is so dense that if you take a hand full of its star material then its mass would be 5 times greater than that of our Earth. And now it has been discovered that a proton has a pressure that exceeded that of a neutron star.
The highest pressure in the proton is around 1035 pascals, or 10 times that of a neutron star, similar to what researchers at Jefferson Lab reported. The surrounding low-pressure region extends farther than previously estimated.
Physicists Shanahan and William Detmold, associate professors of physics at MIT have published their discovery in Physical Review Letters. Physicists were able to discover the pressure by combining the contribution of both the proton’s fundamental subatomic parts, quarks and gluons.
To measure the Pressure coefficient of the proton, Physicists Shanahan and William Detmold had to change their approach. Earlier they were trying to measure by smashing proton using a particle accelerator. But the results they found were futile. So, Shanahan had the idea to look into the gluon shift a calculate it by using supercomputers. They were trying to find out how the interactions between gluon and quarks affected the proton’s pressure.
Shanahan explains, “It’s hugely computationally demanding, so we use the most powerful supercomputers in the world to do these calculations.”
He added, “We’ve looked at the gluon contribution to the pressure distribution for the first time, and we can really see that relative to the previous results the peak has become stronger, and the pressure distribution extends further from the center of the proton” and further added, We’re in the early days of understanding quantitatively the role of gluons in a proton,” Shanahan says. “By combining the experimentally measured quark contribution, with our new calculation of the gluon piece, we have the first complete picture of the proton’s pressure, which is a prediction that can be tested at the new collider in the next 10 years.