For nuclear physicist and LSA physics professor Christine Aidala, the pursuit of knowledge inherent to basic science is part of our nature. “Desire for knowledge is part of what makes us human,” she says.
Aidala studies the internal workings of protons. She does experimental studies of the strong nuclear force, which is described by the theory of quantum chromodynamics, and investigates how subcomponents of protons and neutrons interact.
“More recently, I’ve focused on how these subnuclear components form new bound states after two protons break apart,” Aidala explains. “There’s been a lot more work over the past 50 years trying to understand what’s going on inside the proton, but my current focus is more underexplored. Previously, the goal was to understand what goes on in the proton the instant it breaks apart. But I want to trace what happens to the components themselves after the collision, instead of just using them as a way to understand what was happening in the proton before the collision.”
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