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Q & A: How are nuclear forces acting in between the protons in the nucleus?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
How are nuclear forces acting in between the protons inside the nucleus ?
- Hari RAM (age 16)
SHNV SCHOOL, Sivakasi/TN/India
A:
Good question. The protons and neutrons in the nucleus are held together by the strong nuclear force, which only acts over short distances and between nuclear particles. We think that all forces are due to the exchange of particles. The protons and neutrons exchange particles called pions, which bind them together. But there's more than meets the eye. The protons, neutrons, and pions are made of smaller particles called quarks, which interact with each other through particles called "gluons." So, what's really going on is that you have groups of quarks interacting with each other and with other groups of quarks by way of the gluons.Have a look at for a nice exposition.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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