Isaac Newton, inventor of calculus and creator of classical physics, is thought by some to be the most intelligent person to have ever lived. When Albert Einstein introduced his theories of General and Special Relativity, Newton's Stature was not diminished, but increased. One genius, Newton, made the work of another, Einstein, possible. Einstein's theory is believable because the basic Newtonian mechanics we observe when tossing balls and sending rockets to the moon is preserved within the more far-reaching and abstract framework of realitivity.
In the same way, a completed experiment at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) may eventually point to an intersection between established nuclear physics theory and quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the still-developing theory which describes the ways basic particles called quarks compose, an interact with, ordinary matter.
The Jefferson Lab results represent the first experimental test in many years of a phenomenon known as quark-hadron duality. Initial experiments have apparently validated the duality concept. To extend and confirm these results, another Jefferson Lab experiment is set to begin this July and three others are in the planning stages.
"We have QC and we have nuclear physics theory with no firmly established relationship to each other. yet they both work and we know that quarks are the fundamental building blocks of nature," said Cynthia Keppel, a Jefferson Lab staff scientist and assistant professor of physics at Hampton University. "What we want to do is understand nuclear phenomena at the quark-gluon level. We don't know how to do that right now, so that's why we're running these experiments."
Keppel will present the quark-hadron duality results during the American Physical Society's (APS) Centennial Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Her presentation will be at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23, as part of an APS workshop, "Structure of the Nucleon".