Document Detail

Proton: the particle.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24074929     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
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(80). Protons were created at 10(-6) -1 second after the Big Bang at ≈1.37 × 10(10) years beforethe present. Proton life span has been experimentally determined to be ≥10(34) years; that is, the age of the universe is 10(-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 our 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(+), W(-), Z(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.
Herman Suit
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics     Volume:  87     ISSN:  1879-355X     ISO Abbreviation:  Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys.     Publication Date:  2013 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-09-30     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7603616     Medline TA:  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  555-61     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
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