The Quantum World

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Searching for the Voice of God ~ Gluons

An interesting interaction between words and concepts: Gluons (that which keeps things together) are the exchange particles for the color force (chromodynamics) between quarks (elementary particle matter - having gluons that which keeps them together), which is analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles.
Hence, the gluon can be considered to be the fundamental exchange particle underlying the strong interaction between protons and neutrons in a nucleus - that which keeps things together. That short-range interaction can be considered to be a residual color force extending outside the boundary of the proton or neutron. Gluon interactions generate a color change for the quarks.
The gluons are in fact considered to be bi-colored, carrying a unit of color and a unit of anti-color (talking about light change). More incredible than that is that the range of the strong force is limited by the gluons interact with each other as well as with quarks, in the context of quark confinement. These properties contrast with photons which are massless and of infinite range. The photon does not carry electric charge with it, while the gluons do carry the 'color charge'.
As fascinating and compelling as the evidence is for the existence and purpose of such exchange particles (gluons), the discussion today is whether or not a gluon as a 'fundamental exchange particle' is a 'virtual particle'. Why is there such discussion? Some argue that it is difficult to say if there are such a thing as gluons since there is no sharp dividing line between a virtual particle and a real particle (a real particle is that which is agreed upon as being observed); yet, it's not true that every particle is clearly one or the other. Confusing isn't it?
In the realm of quantum physics we are told that most of what we observe and discuss as real matter concerns a lot of what is unknown. Since, observations take place at the atomic level (the fundamental level of matter which is light) it would be difficult to say whether or not a super computer is making the correct observation, as it is humanly programmed and humanly understood. Therefore, we may not ever be able to tell if virtual particles exist but saying that they don't exist can't be proven either. Worse, if they don't exist that means normal particles (aka field quanta) don't exist either.
Firstly, because we as mere humans may be mistaking what is real and what isn't as it is with anything virtual, it is not easy or possible to tell what is virtual and what is not virtual... as they are the same. Gluons are short lived. These short-lived high mass force-carrier particles (virtual particles) seem to violate the laws of conservation of energy and mass; hence, their mass just can't come out of nowhere!
Considering the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, these high-mass particles may come into being if they are incredibly short-lived. In a sense, they escape reality's notice. Such particles are called virtual particles. These so called virtual particles 'gluons' do not violate the conservation of energy. The kinetic energy plus mass of the initial decaying particle and the final decay products is equal. The virtual particles exist for such a short time that they can never be observed.
Most particle processes are mediated by virtual carrier particles or gluons. Again, remember that the gluon is the so-called messenger particle of the strong nuclear force which binds subatomic particles known as quarks within the protons and neutrons of stable matter as well as with heavier, short-lived particles created at high energies. Quarks interact by emitting and absorbing gluons, just as electrically charged particles interact through the emission and absorption of photons. In quantum chromodynamics, the theory of the strong force, the interactions of quarks are described in terms of eight types of massless gluon which, like the photon, all carry one unit of intrinsic angular momentum, or spin. Like quarks, the gluons carry a 'strong charge' known as 'color'.  This means that gluons can interact between themselves through the strong force.

Fascinating, isn't it? How could that really be 'real' and what would be its purpose? Searching for the voice of God... as it was in the beginning, He said "Let there be Light" ~ Genesis 1:3. Perhaps, the 'strong charge' is His command! In visualizing the interaction of particles, we can imagine what amazing application it has for our social well being. It could only be the Creator's will that in every aspect of His creation, there we are. 

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