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Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Borromean Rings and Quarks (5568 hits)
By Mike Petersen Date 2010-01-05 15:59
Question I thought of while reading about Borromean Rings:

Because three quarks are required to combine to make an elementary particle, is it possible that quarks are in some way a Borromean Ring construct?

I know that Borromean Ring theory enters into chemistry and even nuclear physics, but I have never heard of it in this regard.

Thoughts, anyone?

- Mike Petersen
By Jade Annand Date 2010-01-06 19:43
That's weird stuff, Mike - I'd never even heard of them. Certainly not the three lithium ion construct that got vindicated after forty years of it being postulated.

So, ummm... maybe?
By Mike Petersen Date 2010-01-18 11:57
For some reason this construct has stayed in my mind, so I decided to sit down and make a "set" myself.  Actually building a model made me realize the amazing geometry involved.  One thing I noticed after building it (out of three long stips of paper and scotch tape) is that, if I look at one, it's inside another.  That one is inside the third, and then the third one is inside the first!  This is true no matter which one you pick to start with.  Fascinating.

Of course, when I showed this to my wife, she just looked at me like I was an alien.  My God, what a hopeless dork I am!

- Mike Petersen
By Ari Jokimäki Date 2010-01-19 07:00
Don't show those kind of things to your wife. :D
By Mike Petersen Date 2010-02-18 15:18
I've been doing a little studying up on String Theory, and Greene's book The Elegant Universe is a Godsend for those of us wishing to avoid looking at the mathematics.

I've written to Greene about my idea.  If a quark is truly a vibrating string, then perhaps 3 of them get together in a Borromean Ring construct to make a proton.  And, since a Borromean Ring construct is so stable, perhaps that's why no one has ever seen a proton decay.  Although I'm sure Greene have already thought of this, I put my feeble idea in the message anyway.

I wonder if he will even deign to answer?

Mike Petersen
By Jade Annand Date 2010-02-18 19:50
The Elegant Universe really is one of the better summaries of the field - Greene is a pretty good writer and advocate, and you don't have to deal directly with Calabi-Yau space mathematics to get there.

(I'm just trying to imagine what would happen if he wrote the book like Roger Penrose did Road to Reality: don't know tensor calculus? Well, tough luck!)

I would also recommend Lee Smolin's The Trouble With Physics in which Smolin actually paints a fairly sympathetic view of the field and what promises it held and holds. The conclusion to that book was anti-String Theory, but more in the sense that we have no backup plan should it prove wrong and that it is so far entirely lacking in lab corroboration - no denying the promise or 'beauty' of String Theory.

And, since a Borromean Ring construct is so stable, perhaps that's why no one has ever seen a proton decay.

I'm also curious as to why protons do not decay, but I am unsure as to whether a Borromean Ring would be the answer. Protons are uud and never decay; neutrons are udd and decay with a half-life of fifteen minutes, at least when they are unbound.

The only three-quark systems with the same quarks are notoriously unstable: the Δ++ and the Δ- have lifetimes in the 6 x 10-24 second range.

There no harm in trying to e-mail him - I know I've been surprised at responses I get from people that I was sure would not answer - although should he not respond, it may be from being overwhelmed with e-mail rather than any personal opprobium :)
By Mike Petersen Date 2010-04-07 12:40
Well, dang.  No reply from Greene.  Too bad.  But I agree, he probably gets more crackpot theory mail than I can imagine.

- Mike Petersen
Previous Next Up Topic Cosmology / Alternative Cosmology / Borromean Rings and Quarks (5568 hits)

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