# How analogous is the strong force to photon/electron interaction in QED?

• david findley
In summary, there are strong parallels between the interactions of the up/down quarks in the strong nuclear force and the way electrons and photons interact in quantum electrodynamics, but there are also important differences.
david findley
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Can someone explain to me (in layman's terms,) how it might be possible to associate the interactions of the up/down quarks in the strong nuclear force as analogous to the way electrons and photons interact in quantum electrodynamics ?

There is a strong analogy but also important differences.

Electrons carry electric charge, which means that they can absorb or emit photons (photons are said to "couple" to electric charge). Photons themselves, though, are electrically neutral and so do not interact with each other.

Quarks carry "color" charge, which is the charge gluons couple to. So quarks absorb and emit gluons in the same way that electrons absorb and emit photons. The analogy here is very strong; the underlying mathematics so far is identical. The absorption and emission of gluons by quarks leads to a "color force" (more commonly, the "strong force") between quarks which is analogous to the electromagnetic force between electrons, which arises from the emission and absorption of photons by electrons.

There are two main differences, though. First, there are three types of color charge: "red, green, and blue." Thus while there is only one electron, with electric charge -1, there are really three quarks of any given flavor: a red quark, a green quark, and a blue quark. Second, gluons themselves carry color charge (in contrast to the case of electrodynamics where the photon is electrically neutral). The fact that gluons have color charge means that gluons can absorb and emit other gluons, which ends up making the mathematical analysis of the strong interaction horribly complicated. Gluons carry color charge somewhat differently from quarks: each gluon has a color and an anti-color. So there is a red-antigreen gluon, a blue-antired gluon, etc. Counting these up you might think that there should be nine gluons, but in fact one of these doesn't exist for group theoretical reasons, so there are eight gluons (in contrast to electrodynamics where there is only one photon).

david findley said:
Can someone explain to me (in layman's terms,) ...
Are you familiar with the Maxwell equations from classical electrodynamics?

No-- you would have to tell me *about* them, or describe the dynamic in layman's terms.

From my understanding, the mathematical dynamic's describing the respective interactions are reflective parallels of one another. ...Would you agree?

No-- you would have to tell me *about* them, or describe the dynamic in layman's terms.

From my understanding, the mathematical dynamic's describing the respective interactions are reflective parallels of one another. ...Would you agree?

do you know what electric and magnetic fields are? and how they interact with matter? via charge and current densities? and how the energy stored in the fields looks like?

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no !
I don't understand what electro-magnetic fields are ! I understand the nature of electrons and electricity, I even understand the photon/electron interactions in QED,

but I am not so sure about electro-magnetism. Particularly the magnetic aspect! I've seen the pictures, I understand the nature of electromagnetic radiation (which are fields, no?) as light... but... if you would care to explain 'electromagnetism' (again, particularly the magnetic part... what are the force carriers in magnetism, for example?) I would be very interested =p

(edit)

Alright, I just read wikipedia entry on magnetism. I still don't get it. It says that the magnets mediating force is the 'magnetic field'. That doesn't tell me anything. If it is a field, then shouldn't it have an accompanying particle per wave-particle duality?
hmm, it seems the magnetic field has a 'crystallizing' effect on things, like steel shavings. How exactly does the magnetic field do this..?

Is the magnetic field really as odd and mysterious as it seems to me? It reminds me of gravity.. we can determine its nature by the effects it has on OTHER things, though the actual essence of the magnetism itself... is what?

(edit again)

oh my god ! maybe magnetism is the crystallization of teh fabric of space itself ! do you think ? that is a totally plausible explanation ! it is soooooooooo going into my thesis ! wow ! I just read an article that nobody really knnows what the essential nature of magnetism is ! I bet its just space ! I already have the framework to prove it ! I am such a bloody genius !(wooo another edit)

ooh ! so now we can explore the implications involved... a magnetic rock... influencing the very fabric of space itself... the awesome inference that there is such a powerful connection between space and these special rocks... what could it be, that makes these rocks so special..? hmm I guess I'm not going to sleep tonight !

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david findley said:
I don't understand what electro-magnetic fields are ! I understand the nature of electrons and electricity, I even understand the photon/electron interactions in QED,

but I am not so sure about electro-magnetism.
how is it possible to understand quantum electrodynamics w/o understading classical electrodynamics ??

## 1. How is the strong force similar to photon/electron interaction in QED?

The strong force, also known as the strong nuclear force, is one of the four fundamental forces of nature. It is responsible for holding together the nucleus of an atom by binding protons and neutrons. Similarly, the interaction between photons and electrons in quantum electrodynamics (QED) also involves the exchange of particles, known as virtual photons, to create an attractive force between charged particles.

## 2. What are the differences between the strong force and photon/electron interaction in QED?

While both the strong force and photon/electron interaction in QED involve the exchange of particles, they operate on different scales. The strong force only acts on particles within the nucleus, while QED describes the behavior of particles on a subatomic level. Additionally, the strong force is much stronger than the electromagnetic force, which governs photon/electron interaction.

## 3. How does the strong force affect the stability of atoms?

The strong force plays a crucial role in the stability of atoms by keeping the nucleus intact. Without the strong force, the positively charged protons in the nucleus would repel each other due to their like charges. This would cause the nucleus to break apart, making the atom unstable.

## 4. Can the strong force be explained by the same equations used in QED?

No, the strong force cannot be fully explained by the same equations used in QED. While both forces involve the exchange of particles, QED is based on the principles of quantum mechanics, while the strong force is described by a different theory called quantum chromodynamics (QCD). QCD takes into account the interactions between quarks, the particles that make up protons and neutrons.

## 5. How does the study of the strong force and QED contribute to our understanding of the universe?

The study of the strong force and QED helps us understand the fundamental nature of matter and the forces that govern its behavior. These theories have been extensively tested and have provided a solid foundation for our understanding of the universe, from the behavior of subatomic particles to the formation of galaxies. They also provide a basis for the development of new technologies, such as nuclear power and quantum computers.

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