The article “The pressure distribution inside a proton” published in the American magazine “Nature”, has caused the international world of science to be in awe. The Moroccan physicist and author of this article, Latifa Elouadrhiri, has made a ground-breaking discovery.
The proton, one of the components of the atomic nuclei, has been a mystery for scientists until now. Latifa Elouadhrhiri, a Senior Staff Scientist in Hall B., along with her colleagues at the Jefferson Lab in the United States, have made the first ground-breaking discovery regarding the proton. They revealed the balanced pressure distribution behind a particle’s stability through high-energy experiments. In an interview with “Nature”, Elhoudhrhiri explains how it works:
“We fire a high-energy electron because by increasing the energy, the wavelength is smaller so we can see deeper into the object. We measure the light that is emitted by the quark, together with the scattered electron, then we also measure the proton. So, we leave the proton intact, we measure it, we measure the produced photon, the light, and the scattered electron. We need to detect all these particles in the final state in order to use the formalism and understand the structure, and that was, this is what was not possible in earlier experiments with electron scattering.”
With this experiment, they found out that the pressure of a proton varies between 10 to 35 pascal. This is 10 times larger than the pressure in the neutron star, as she explains. The discovery is the starting point to many more researches on this matter.
Latifa Elouadrhiri studied at the Mohamed V university in Rabat before she moved to France. There, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Clermont-Ferrand. In 1994 the brilliant scientist went to Jefferson Lab and joined the Hall B. staff in 2001.