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What Shape Are Your Protons?

By Kathy A Svitil
Aug 1, 2003 5:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:52 AM


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In the subatomic world, nothing is simple. Take the proton, a fundamental particle found in the nucleus of every atom. For decades, students have been taught to picture the proton as a nice round ball, like a miniature planet. But no: The latest computer simulations show the particles can resemble peanuts, beehives, even bagels.

The three faces of a proton: sphere, peanut, and bagel. Graphics courtesy of Gerald Miller/University of Washington (3).

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