Chris Barker wrote:
> I also have a problem with Moose's mixing of metaphors: "quarks ... colours
> ... spin etc ..."
You misunderstand. Quarks have various characteristics, none of which
really correspond with things on the size scale where we experience the
universe. For good or ill, the Physicists who discovered quarks chose
not to make up words to label all these qualities. Some,like 'spin' and
'mass' wer similar enough to those qualities in other particles to be
used. For those that had no apparent realtionship to anything else, they
used the words 'color' and 'flavor' for things that aren't those at all.
Even a characteristic that sounds familiar, like mass, isn't quite what
"Although one speaks of quark mass in the same way as the mass of any
other particle, the notion of mass for quarks is complicated by the fact
that quarks cannot be found free in nature. As a result, the notion of a
quark mass is a /theoretical construct/, which makes sense only when one
specifies exactly the procedure used to define it."
They also named them somewhat whimsically; the six varieties being named
Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top and Bottom. Only missing Doc and Snow White.
> But then I haven't a clue what a quark might be.
Nor, to some extent, do the experts. Quarks seem to occupy a place
somewhere between what most of us would call real and that of
theoretical constructs. So long as experiments with the particles
supposed to be composed of quarks conform to predictions based on the
existence, characteristics and behavior of quarks, they may be treated
The Red Queen may know more.
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