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Q & A: quantized QCD and weak charges

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Most recent answer: 02/10/2012
Q:
Are all charges quantized? I know electric charge comes in discrete units, but what about the weak force charge, or the nuclear color charge, or a smallest discrete unit of mass as gravity charge?
- Jimmy (age 12)
Champaign, IL
A:
Yes for the nuclear forces but no for gravity. For the weak interaction, the quantity is called "weak isospin", and it does have quantized possible values. For the QCD (color) interaction, there are fixed units of color charge. However, these cannot be represented as real numbers. You can think of them more like vectors of fixed length on a set of special directions in a plane.

So far as I know, there is no corresponding quantum of mass. Certainly none has been demonstrated.


Mike W.

(published on 02/10/2012)

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