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Artist's Rendition of a Proton

  • Three quarks indicated by red, green and blue spheres (lower left) are localized by the gluon field.

  • A quark-antiquark pair created from the gluon field is illustrated by the green-antigreen (magenta) quark pair on the right. These quark pairs give rise to a meson cloud around the proton.

  • The masses of the quarks illustrated in this diagram account for only 3% of the proton mass. The gluon field is responsible for the remaining 97% of the proton's mass and is the origin of mass in most everything around us.

  • Experimentalists probe the structure of the proton by scattering electrons (white line) off quarks which interact by exchanging a quantum of light (wavy line) known as a photon.

The End