I woke up this morning feeling maybe smaller, maybe less energized. In
fact, a new study in Nature calculates that the proton is 4% smaller
than previously thought or as this Scientific American headline reads
"proton shrinks in size"
So perhaps my jeans really do fit better today because my protons are
smaller than they were last week.
What do these studies imply?
Does this mean that we don't understand the basic structure of the atom
as well as we thought? Does a 4% difference matter? Perhaps there
was a calculation error and this newest technology that was used in this
experiment is just off somewhat. Since now the Rydberg constant would
now be different, does this through a glitch into the whole concept of
quantum theory? Should we care? While protons are measured in
femtometers are a lot smaller than nanometers (1000times), all matter is
composed of protons, electrons and neutrons. So when someone says your
protons are smaller than they thought, you should take note.