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Is this language wrong?

  1. Dec 12, 2012 #1
    I keep hearing that quarks exist IN protons, one webpage even had it a proton is like a bag with quarks exist and annihilating in it. surely this is wrong. quarks dont exist in protons but rather 3 quarks made up protons or are protons. How does a proton keep the same quantum numbers if all its parts keep annihilating and creating as was stated in the other thread...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2012 #2

    Nugatory

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    Staff: Mentor

    The problem here is that English-language descriptions of quantum-mechanical concepts are never completely accurate - at best they are analogies that sorta kinda tell you sorta kinda how some parts sorta kinda work. So I guess you could say that the language is wrong... but there's nothing we can do to the language to make it "right".

    The "bag of quarks" analogy isn't half bad, but it leaves out the part about how all the annihilating and creating will somehow always arrange to preserve an isolated proton yet allow an isolated neutron to decay into a proton, far less the stuff that goes among multiple protons and neutrons bound together in a nucleus. And it's not like there's an actual bag there to contain the quarks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
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