Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD)
We learn in elementary school or middle school that there
are two types of electric charge: positive, like protons, and
negative, like electrons. We also learn that opposite chrages
attract each other, while similar charges repel one another.
With this knowledge, we then learn that atoms, which all of us
are made of, have electrons circling a positivvely charged nucleus
made of protons and neutrons, which have no electric charge. This is
a nice, easy model to picture, and most early science classes will
leave it at that. But do you see a potential problem with this
model of an atom? If similar charges repel, how can the nucleus
stay together? Shouldn't all those protons blow it apart?
The only way for a nucleus to stay together is if there is
some other force that is stronger than the electrical
repulsion. This force is called the strong nuclear force. The
theory that explains whaat it is and how it works and behaves
is now called quantum chromodynamics, or just QCD. It turns out
that QCD is a very mathematical theory, but we will check out
a few of its key ideas so we caan gain some insight as far as
how the nucleus behaves as well as how the theory is used
at CDF in order to make sense of the data it collects.
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