Three Americans Win Nobel Prize for Physics (washingtonpost.com) for discovering that “quarks, the particles that make up protons and neutrons, bind more closely together as they are pulled apart.”
Quarks are the bottom line for subatomic particles–there’s nothing smaller. ANd here’s a new scientific term we’ll all be hearing lots more about in the future: quantum chromodynamics. This describes the “colors” of quarks–their unique set of characteristics and electrical charges.
Scientists use what they call the Standard Model to talk about the interactions of the three basic forces of particle physics — the strong force (that’s what’s just been proven), the weak force (which is about radiation decay) and electromagnetism. Unlike the strong force that quarks show in binding together, the latter two forces grow weaker with distance.
Gravity, which is considered the fourth force, hasn’t quite yielded enough secrets for scientists to link it to the Standard Model to achieve a “theory of everything.” But when they do, what we’ll have is the beginning of a map of the universe that doesn’t just show us relationships, but actually explains interactions.
Imagine if we add this understanding of physics to our understanding of genes and stem cells in molecular biology and so on. We will surely achieve a quantum leap in our ability to grasp–and therefore change–the course of many more things in life…an awesome responsibility indeed.