of the proton and neutron
of the Proton
proton (one outside a nucleus) has long been considered to be a stable
particle, but recent developments of grand unification models have
suggested that it might decay with a half-life of about 1031
years. (WOW! 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years). Particle
Physicists are trying to prove that this is indeed the case.
of the proton is associated with a quark transformation in which an "up"
quark is converted to a "down" quark by the weak interaction
of the Neutron
A free proton is virtually
stable but a free neutron is comparitively very UNstable. It will
decay with a half-life of about 10.3 minutes but it is considerably more
stable if combined into a nucleus. It decays as beta decay with
the emission of an electron and an electron antineutrino. The decay of
the neutron involves the weak interaction as indicated in the Feynman
diagrams on this page.
The decay of the neutron
is associated with a quark transformation in which a "down"
quark is converted to an "up" quark by the weak interaction