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Particle physics calculations improved

ADELAIDE, Australia, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Australian particle physicists say they've established a new approach to precision calculations on the properties of subatomic particles.

The proton, one of the three main components of an atom, is known to consist of point-like particles called quarks, bound together by gluons, said University of Adelaide Associate Professor Derek Leinweber, who led a team of international theoretical physicists in the study.

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There are six types of quarks and the most mysterious of them is the strange quark that "boils up" inside the proton and then "simmers back out of existence".

The finding is a precise calculation of the strange quark's distribution within the proton and predicts the short-lived strange quarks display an unanticipated level of symmetry in their journey.

"Technically the strange quark contribution to the proton's charge distribution has proven elusive," Leinweber said. "At the University of Adelaide, working with physicists at the University of Edinburgh and the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in the U.S., we've been able to calculate the strange contribution with unprecedented accuracy by applying a unique combination of cutting-edge numerical and analytical approaches."

The study was detailed recently in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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