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Title: Proton: The Particle

The purpose of this article is to review briefly the nature of protons: creation at the Big Bang, abundance, physical characteristics, internal components, and life span. Several particle discoveries by proton as the experimental tool are considered. Protons play important roles in science, medicine, and industry. This article was prompted by my experience in the curative treatment of cancer patients by protons and my interest in the nature of protons as particles. The latter has been stimulated by many discussions with particle physicists and reading related books and journals. Protons in our universe number ≈10{sup 80}. Protons were created at 10{sup −6} –1 second after the Big Bang at ≈1.37 × 10{sup 10} years beforethe present. Proton life span has been experimentally determined to be ≥10{sup 34} years; that is, the age of the universe is 10{sup −24}th of the minimum life span of a proton. The abundance of the elements is hydrogen, ≈74%; helium, ≈24%; and heavier atoms, ≈2%. Accordingly, protons are the dominant baryonic subatomic particle in the universe because ≈87% are protons. They are in each atom in our universe and thus involved in virtually every activity of matter in the visible universe, including life on ourmore » planet. Protons were discovered in 1919. In 1968, they were determined to be composed of even smaller particles, principally quarks and gluons. Protons have been the experimental tool in the discoveries of quarks (charm, bottom, and top), bosons (W{sup +}, W{sup −}, Z{sup 0}, and Higgs), antiprotons, and antineutrons. Industrial applications of protons are numerous and important. Additionally, protons are well appreciated in medicine for their role in radiation oncology and in magnetic resonance imaging. Protons are the dominant baryonic subatomic particle in the visible universe, comprising ≈87% of the particle mass. They are present in each atom of our universe and thus a participant in every activity involving matter.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22267919
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics; Journal Volume: 87; Journal Issue: 3; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; 73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; ANTINEUTRONS; ANTIPROTONS; ATOMS; HIGGS BOSONS; NMR IMAGING; PROTON BEAMS; RADIOTHERAPY