Researchers Clash As They Try To Unravel The Secret of The Atom

Atoms continue to hide many mysteries, which remain a source of fascination for many researchers. Two rival groups of researchers have been hard at work on learning more about atoms, and both want to prove that their version is the correct one.

It is well-known that electrons will travel around orbitals located near the outer shell of an atom. Within the electrons and the nucleus, there is a generous amount of space. In the very center of the space, the nucleus can be found, a high-density agglomeration of protons and neutrons that represent most of the atom’s mass.

The protons and neutrons are linked together by a phenomenon known as the strong force. It is worth noting that the number of protons and neutrons plays an important role in defining many of the traits carried by the atom. For example, it differentiates an iron atom from an oxygen one or determines if it is radioactive or stable.

Researchers Clash As They Try To Unravel The Secret of The Atom

However, little is known about how the nucleons (groups of protons and neutrons) behave when they are inside an atom. Previous research has offered valuable data about protons and neutrons, which aren’t locked in an atom.

Both neutrons and protons contain three little particles that are known under the name of quarks. The interactions between these quarks are so intense that no external force can affect them, even the mighty ones that can be encountered between particles placed in a nucleus.

One group of researchers argues that up to 20% of the nucleons found in an atom will float beyond the orbitals as they interact with paired nucleons, leading to a phenomenon known as the EMC effect. However, another group of researchers argues that there is a different interpretation of the EMC effect that could be valid. In this case, the researchers say that the classic model of nuclear physics cannot explain the EMC effect. More data could be revealed in the future as the two teams continue their research.

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