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It can't hope to explain why the protons stick together, because they shouldn't.  They're all positively charged and so should repel each other and fly apart.

They don't. Two protons can never form a nucleus. That's what you have neutrons for (or rather, that's what neutrons do, if we want to avoid the pitfall of anthropocentrism). If you want a toy model that'll serve you well enough and remain useful pretty far into your studies (if not forever, depending on your line of enquiry), you can think about neutrons as a kind of glue that holds the positively charged protons together.

And by the time that model is no longer adequate, protons, neutrons and electrons should be such familiar mental constructs that they have long transcended the initial toy model.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 24th, 2008 at 11:15:45 AM EST
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