The proton was discovered around 1920 when it was officially given the name by Ernest Rutherford. The discovery was the complement to the electron, discovered prior, which balanced the electrical charges in the atom. The proton, along with the neutron which would be discovered a decade later, are considered nucleons that reside in the nucleus of the atom. The proton has a positive charge, the electron has a negative charge and the neutron is neutral.

The current explanation of the proton is that it is composed of particles known as quarks. In most experiments, the proton is found to have three quarks, although an exotic arrangement of five quarks has also been found. The latter five-quark arrangement was first reported in 2003 and coined the pentaquark, which consists of four quarks and an anti-quark. It wasn’t until 2015 that the pentaquark could be reproduced by CERN.

In the three quark model, the proton is believed to consist of two up quarks and one down quark. A quark is never in isolation, meaning it can never be found alone (one quark). It may be found in pairs (two or more quarks), in the case of mesons. As described above, three quarks are typically found when protons are smashed together in particle accelerators but a single quark is never isolated for long. Instead, when particles are smashed together and quarks are detected, they are described like ends of rubber bands that stretch, but eventually pull quarks back together again. This is known as quark confinement.
Quark confinement

Despite the belief that the proton consists of three quarks, the following observations have been made in electron capture and beta decay:

  1. In an atom, a proton can capture an electron to become a neutron
  2. A proton may decay to a neutron with the emission of a positron and a neutrino




A new model of the proton was created for energy wave theory based on a pentaquark arrangement: four quarks and an anti-quark. In fact these quarks may be highly-energetic electrons as determined by the wave equations, and the anti-quark may be a positron. This model matches beta decay experiments explained in the weak force section and also outlined in the Forces paper. Other proof of the pentaquark model was the calculation of the proton radius. Here, the common observations from proton collision experiments will be explained.  

The proposed structure of the proton is based on electrons, positrons and neutrinos, all of which are found in protons and neutrons when they naturally decay (beta decay).

proton pentaquark model



Particle Accelerator Experiments – Why Three Quarks?

First, the standard proton collision experiment needs to be explained to match the findings where three quarks are discovered within the proton structure. In the typical particle collision with the proton, three quarks are detected. The figure below describes how another particle would affect the proton structure if it consists of four electrons and one positron. Upon collision, the high-energy electrons would appear as quarks (they still contain a great amount of energy from constructive wave interference). Since the positron would immediately annihilate with one of the four electrons, it would not be detected. The wave centers of the fourth electron and positron remain, but destructive waves reduce its amplitude to near zero, and as such, it has no charge that can be detected by an electromagnetic apparatus. Thus, only three of the high-energy electrons would be detected. Further, it’s possible that the effect of the fourth electron and positron on one of the remaining three electrons could cause slight constructive wave interference so that it appears to have slightly more energy (down quark) than the other two electrons (up quarks).



Proton collisions


See What’s in a Proton For Animated Versions of Accelerator Experiments


This proposed model also fits higher energy experiments that recently show four quarks and an anti-quark. Reviewing the figure above, each of the electrons would be the four quarks and the positron would be the anti-quark discovered in the experiment. Quarks are never found in isolation. They are only found within the structure of the proton. Given the representation of energy as wave amplitude, it is very possible that the proton consists of electrons, which appear in very different form when in close proximity, constructively adding wave amplitude and forming the core of a new particle.

A detailed explanation of what’s in the proton describes accelerator and decay experiments, matching this structure to experimental evidence. The explanation of electrons as quarks is found in recent experimentsElectron-positron collisions do create quarks, including the tetraquark that is the proposed vertices of the proton in this model.


Spin & Color

The explanation of color and the proton’s spin must also match experiments in the proposed structure of the proton. First, spin can be explained in the figure below. The four electrons in the vertices of the tetrahedron might have spin that adds to zero. The positron would have spin +½ or -½, giving the proton its spin.


Proton Spin


Spin is possibly the reason for determining the color of quarks, or the gluons that connect each of the quarks together. The model for color was based on the current understanding of a proton’s three-quark arrangement. There are three colors: Red, Green and Blue. Quarks don’t really have color, but this model was developed to simplify the understanding of the quark arrangement.

When three quarks are detected, there would be three electrons with spin and one undetected electron-positron combination that may affect one of the electrons, causing it to be the down quark in the arrangement.

Thus, the following would be the possible combinations of the gluon arrangements in the figure above (giving each a color name to map to the known colors):

  • Red: Two electrons of same spin (+½ and +½; or -½ and -½)
  • Green: Two electrons of opposite spin (+½ and -½)
  • Blue: One electron and the combination of the electron affected by the annihilated electron-positron (+½ and -½ + -½ + ½; or -½ and +½ + -½ + ½)


Proton to Neutron Conversion

A nucleon is stable until an event occurs at a given probability that increases energy to dislodge one of the center particles.  The tetrahedral particles require a significant amount of energy to separate and will only do so temporarily – known as quark confinement. It is the center particles of the nucleon that are held in place by electric forces, not strong forces.

Random, but predictable collisions, such as solar neutrinos could provide the energy to dislodge the particle.  Consider a solar neutrino with inbound kinetic energy that collides with a particle in the atom, causing electron capture or beta decay.  This would satisfy the conditions of the creation and decay of the proton:

  1. Electron capture – a neutrino collides with an electron in an atom, transferring energy to the electron to overcome the repelling force of the proton.  The electron annihilates with the positron in the center and are now destructive waves. The proton becomes a neutron.
  2. Beta minus decay – a neutrino collides with the positron in the proton’s center, dislodging it. The proton sheds the positron and becomes a neutron.




Proof of the energy wave explanation for the proton is the calculations, derivations and explanations of:

  • Fine structure constant – derivation shows relationship to electrons as quarks
  • Strong force – calculations of the forces for binding energy of quarks and also the repelling force for orbitals
  • Weak force – the explanation of beta decay and the weak force are shown for all possible decay scenarios
  • Proton Radius – the calculated spacing for quarks and the size of the proton are within range.
  • Proton Mass – the calculated mass for the proton