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Shrinking the Proton

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For more than a decade, the rms charge radius of the proton was known to be 0.88fm, with about 1% uncertainty [1]. Two methods, elastic electron scattering and precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, yielded consistent values. In 2010, our result from laser spectroscopy of the exotic “muonic hydrogen” atom yielded a 4% smaller value, 0.84 fm, with an uncertainty of less than 0.1% In muonic hydrogen, a negative muon orbits a proton with a 200 times smaller Bohr orbit than in regular hydrogen, which increases the sensitivity of muonic hydrogen to the proton charge radius by 200^3 ~ 10 million! Since 2010, the discrepancy increased to more than 7 sigmas [4], making it one of the biggest discrepancies in the Standard Model. I will discuss the so-called “proton radius puzzle” [5], report on more measurements in muonic atoms [6], and a new measurement in regular atomic hydrogen. [1] Amsler et al. (PDG 2008), PLB 667 , 1 (2008) [2] Pohl et al. (CREMA coll.), Nature 466, 213 (2010) [3] Antognini et al.,(CREMA coll.), Science 339, 417 (2013) [4] Olive et al. (PDG 2014), Chin. Phys. C40 , 090001 (2014) [5] Pohl et al., Annu. Rev. Nucl. Part. Sci 63, 175 (2013) [6] Pohl et al. (CREMA coll.), Science 353, 669 (2016)

This talk is part of the Particle Physics Seminars series.

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