If we know one thing about innovation, it’s that widened perspectives lead to new ideas. Understanding how other forces work can widen your perspective on electromagnetism and maybe help you think of something new.
The LHCb experiment at CERN recently confirmed the existence of a particle that violates the quark model, so it’s a good time to fill you in on just how weird quarks are. LHCb is the name of the Large Hadron Collider beauty collaboration, where “b” refers to the bottom quark, which is sometimes called the beauty quark, as opposed to the top quark, which is sometimes called the truth quark. But forget the sensationalism, that's for the politicians who write up energy budgets. LHCb announced confirmation of the Z(4430) experiment at the KEK collider in Tsukuba, Japan.
Quarks interact primarily through the strong nuclear force. Violating the quark model isn't a big deal. Violating the quantum theory of the strong force would be a giant, Nobel-quality announcement, but that hasn't happened.
It’s easiest to describe the strong force by comparing it to the electromagnetic force:
Figure 1: An electric dipole.
Electric charges come in + and -. The strong force has three different charges and their opposites. Since we see three unique colors (unless you’re color blind), we call the strong force charges “color charges” and the theory of the strong force, “Quantum Chromodynamics.” “Chromo” refers to the colored nature of the force. Strong charges come in red, blue, green, and anti-red, anti-blue, anti-green. Where electrons carry one negative charge, quarks each carry one of the three colors.
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