2nd July 2007 – Recipe for a Universe

Recipe for a Universe – how does Quantum Mechanics operate in the real world we live in.

Dr Tara Shears from Liverpool University described how the explanations in Quantum Mechanics (where force is transmitted by exchanging particles) reflect into our real world.

The nucleus of the atom contains quarks which are positively charged and thus should repel each other and fly apart, but they don’t.  They pack themselves into a very small volume (the nucleus of an atom) to make nearly everything we experience in the real world. What stops them flying apart? What makes the gluon so sticky?

Current Quantum theories also say all particles have no mass but some things are quite heavy in the real world. So how do they appear heavy if they weigh nothing? How does the theoretical Higgs Boson give other particles weight? What about the graviton? We certainly experience the force of gravity but if that’s transmitted by particles called gravitons what and where are they?

Magnets exhibit magnetism in the real world. In the quantum world magnetism is caused by exchanging photons. Does that mean that between two bar magnets lots of photons are whizzing about? Dr Shears showed us how some of these things somehow come together to form a recipe for an incredibly varied Universe which starts “Take four particles ……”

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