Sticky Quarks

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Sticky Quarks Yup, OK. Terrible joke. Pretty accurate, though: quarks are indeed “sticky.” So sticky, indeed, that they can’t separate themselves from each other. It is physically impossible to observe a single quark: they come in pairs or in threes … Read More

Quark Color

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Just like electrons have charge, quarks have color. Of course, they are not actual colors: those are simply wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. We call them colors because there are three of them, so it seemed a good way to label … Read More

300 Trillion Neutrinos Walk into a Bar

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  Neutrinos are a type of fermion which has no charge and is extremely light, so much so that most physicists believed it had no mass until quite recently. The thing about neutrinos is that they barely interact with anything: … Read More

What are Protons Made of?

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What are protons made of? Popular wisdom says they are made of three quarks: two up quarks and a down quark. However, reality is much messier: quarks are held together by the strong force, which is mediated by a particle called the gluon. The gluon sticks to everything: all … Read More

Guess the Quark

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Ordinary matter is made of atoms with a massive nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons. The nucleus is, in turn, made of two types of particles: protons and neutrons. These are much heavier than electrons, so much so that we … Read More