Our alternative *realist *interpretation of quantum physics is pretty complete but one thing that has been puzzling us is the mass density of a proton: why is it so massive as compared to an electron? We simplified things by adding a factor in the Planck-Einstein relation. To be precise, we wrote it as E = 4·*h*·*f*. This allowed us to derive the proton radius from the ring current model:

This felt a bit artificial. Writing the Planck-Einstein relation using an integer multiple of *h* or *ħ* (E = n·*h*·*f* = n·*ħ*·ω) is not uncommon. You should have encountered this relation when studying the black-body problem, for example, and it is also commonly used in the context of Bohr orbitals of electrons. But why is *n *equal to 4 here? Why not 2, or 3, or 5 or some other integer? We do not know: all we know is that the proton is very different. A proton is, effectively, *not* the antimatter counterpart of an electron—a positron. While the proton is much smaller – 459 times smaller, to be precise – its mass is 1,836 times that of the electron. Note that we have the same 1/4 factor here because the mass and Compton radius are inversely proportional:

This doesn’t look all that bad but it feels artificial. In addition, our reasoning involved a unexplained difference – a mysterious but *exact* SQRT(2) factor, to be precise – between the theoretical and experimentally measured magnetic moment of a proton. In short, we assumed some *form factor *must explain both the extraordinary mass density as well as this SQRT(2) factor but we were not quite able to pin it down, *exactly*. A remark on a video on our YouTube channel inspired us to think some more – thank you for that, Andy! – and we think we may have the answer now.

We now think the mass – or *energy *– of a proton combines two oscillations: one is the *Zitterbewegung *oscillation of the pointlike charge (which is a circular oscillation in a plane) while the other is the oscillation of the plane itself. The illustration below is a bit horrendous (I am not so good at drawings) but might help you to get the point. The plane of the *Zitterbewegung *(the plane of the proton ring current, in other words) may oscillate itself between +90 and −90 degrees. If so, the *effective *magnetic moment will differ from the theoretical magnetic moment we calculated, and it will differ by that SQRT(2) factor.

Hence, we should rewrite our paper, but the logic remains the same: we just have a much better explanation now of why we should apply the energy equipartition theorem.

Mystery solved! 🙂