QR4.4.4 The Strong Force

The forces that bind protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus are so strong that when they break there is a nuclear explosion. The bond has to be that strong to overcome the huge electric repulsion between same charge protons. Since protons and neutrons consist of quarks, particle physics needs a strong force to bind them in the nucleus. This force has the peculiar property that it has no effect at very short range but gets stronger as quarks get further apart. It exchanges no energy so it isn’t electromagnetic and it increases with distance so it isn’t gravity. The standard model required a new field that generated new particles, as described by quantum chromodynamics.

Quantum chromodynamics was a field theory derived by analogy to quantum electrodynamics, the field that generated electromagnetism. It described a new strong field that emitted new particles called gluons with a new color charge. In essence, the strong field acted via massless gluons just as the electromagnetic field acted via photons. These gluons are said to carry red, blue and green charges that bind quarks in a proton just as photons bind electrons in atoms, but with three values not two. These red, blue and green charges cancel to “white” just as positive and negative charges cancel to neutral. But three colors need anti-colors so to turn a red quark blue needs an anti-red gluon as well as a blue gluon. Yet the calculations worked, so when in 1978 the PLUTO project managed to interpret a three-jet Upsilon event in gluon terms, gluons joined the standard model pantheon. No-one spoiled the party by asking why a universal field through all space was needed for a quark-only effect.

Figure 4.12. One photon in two quarks

Quantum realism interprets the same facts quite differently, as it attributes the strong force to quarks sharing photons. As shown in Figure 4.12, an extreme photon with its head in one node and tail in another can exist across two quarks that are side-by-side. It is proposed that the photons in the quark free axis essentially act as “hooks” that can insert themselves into nearby quarks. In this view, quarks bind to other quarks by sharing photons rather than being “pushed” together.

Photon sharing gives a bond that is initially zero but increases with distance, for as linked quarks separate the shared photon wavelength increases to release the energy needed to pull them back together. In the next chapter, matter moves by a probabilistic reboot so stretching a photon increases the processing in the gap making the quarks more likely to restart there. The more the quarks separate, the stronger the effect, hence quarks side-by-side experience no force when close but are pulled together as they separate. In effect, shared extreme photons are the “elastic bands” that hold quarks together.

Does photon sharing let quarks fill all the channels of a node plane to achieve stability? Unless this is possible, the quantum processing model again fails.

Next