Standard Article

The Proton

  1. Allen Caldwell

Published Online: 28 APR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9783527600434.eap712

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Caldwell, A. 2014. The Proton. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 299–320.

Author Information

  1. Max Planck Institute for Physics (Werner Heisenberg Institute), Munich, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 APR 2014


This chapter describes the historical development and current state of knowledge concerning the proton. The understanding of the proton has gone through several revolutions in the last 100 years, and we start with a short review of this history. The central part of the text then describes the proton in terms of its constituents and the current state of knowledge on this structure is outlined. Although we have acquired a wealth of knowledge concerning the proton, many fascinating research questions remain. As shown at the end of the chapter, very different pictures of the basic physics arise depending on the frame of reference one chooses to describe the physics.


  • Rutherford scattering;
  • parton model;
  • proton structure;
  • hadrons;
  • proton mass;
  • cross section