The physics of ``elementary particles'' study the smallest constituents of matter, those which do not have any internal structure and are considered indivisible: the quarks and leptons. We have learned that matter is grouped in three generations of quarks and leptons with four forces acting upon them. Two of the forces are commonly known: gravity and the electromagnetic force. The other two forces that exist in Nature are the so-called ``weak'' and ``strong'' interactions that only act at very small distances inside the nucleus. A detailed study of the strong force is the topic of this thesis. The ordinary matter observed in every day life consists of the lightest quarks (so-called up and down quarks) and the lightest leptons, the electron. In the second half of the twentieth century, two more ``generations'' of matter have been discovered in the laboratory, resulting in a total of 6 known quark types. The 5th quark, the so-called beauty quark, does not form ordinary matter because it lives only for a small fraction of a second before it disintegrate into fragments of matter containing the lighter quarks. The study of the beauty quark is particularly interesting, because the underlying fundamental interactions of its production are - as of today - not yet fully understood. The aim of this thesis is to increase the accuracy of the measurement of the abundance of beauty quarks produced in collisions between high energetic protons and fixed nuclei in extreme conditions, just above the threshold of beauty production. New information will be obtained on the internal structure of the proton. Quarks are not observed directly since they are confined into complexBrand, J.F.J. van den [Promotor
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