San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

To What Extent is the Development
of Particle Physics Dependent upon
there being an Attractive Interactive
Force Acting between all Nucleons

After the discovery of the nucleus by Ernest Rutherford in 1911 its nature was a real puzzle. It was known that nuclei contained positively charged protons which through the electrostatic force were repelled from each other. Furthermore it was known from Rutherfords experiments that one positively charged nucleus was repelled from another such nucleus. For a while it was thought that nuclei contained electrons which somehow held the protons together. This was not a very satisfactory theory. It probably stemed from the notion that because some nuclei eject electrons (beta ray decay) electrons must exist within nuclei.

When the neutron was discovered by Chadwick in 1932 this led to several interesting conjectures. Werner Heisenberg in the same year speculated that the proton and the neutron were just mainfestations of the same fundamental partice, the nucleon. The discovery of the neutron also led to the conjecture by Eugene Wigner in 1934 that there was another type of force involved which involved an attraction between protons but which dropped more rapidly with distance than the electrostatic force and thus at sufficiently small separations nucleons were held together. This conjectured force was named the nuclear Strong Force. There were no empirical measurements to substantiate its existence.

Particle physics over the following decades developed into an impressive and imposing field. There are frequent references to the Strong Force but no quantitative analysis.

The Alpha Module Model
of Nuclear Structure

The binding energy data for 2931 nuclides indicate that whenever possible neutrons and protons form spin pairs; neutron-neutron, proton-proton and neutron-proton. See Nucleus for the details. However this spin-pairing is exclusive; i.e., one neutron can form a spin pair with only one other neutron and with one proton and likewise for a proton. The energies involved are large, several million electron volts (MeV) and about the same magnitude for all three types of spin pairs. The spin-pairing is effectively the conjectured Strong Force. The problem is that because of its exclusity it is not a force in the same way that the electrostatic force and the gravitational force are. They involve fields and the spin pairing does not. Thus spin pairing is strong but not a force in the conventional sense. However most of the analysis of particle physics seems to still hold based upon spin pairing instead of the conventional notion of the Strong Force.

However the analysis based upon binding energies has some interesting aspects not involved in the conventional theory. First of all, the neutrons and protons will form chains involving sequences of the form -n-p-p-n-, or equivalently -p-n-n-p-. Such sequences can be called alpha modules because they are roughly equivalent to alpha particles. These chains will close into rings occuping nuclear shells. The lowest shell is an alpha particle, which explains how some nuclides can eject one and only one alpha particle. The occupations of the shells are given by the nuclear magic numbers. With the various forms of rotation of the alpha module rings at rapid rates a nucleus has the dynamic appearance of the nucleons being smeared throughout spherical shells.

In addition to the energies involved in the spin-pairings there are energies associated with an interactive force. This could be identied as the nuclear strong force of conventional theory except it is not as strong as the spin-pairing and so a better name would be the nucleonic force< the force between nucleons. Under this force like nucleons are repelled from each other and unlike attracted. This force is explained by neutrons and protons having nucleonic charges. If the nucleonic charge of a proton is taken to be +1 then the nucleonic charge of a neutron is −2/3. This is verified by the statistical analysis of the binding energies of 2931 nuclides. A regression equation based upon this model explains 99.995 percent of the variation in the binding energies of the 2931 nuclides. See Statistical Explanation of Binding Energy for the details.

The relative importance of the exclusive spin pairing and the nonexclusive nucleonic force is illustrated by the following graphs using purely hypothetical data.

When a proton is added to the nuclide with 11protons a proton-proton spin pair is formed. If the proton number is less than the neutron then there is also formed a proton-neutron spin pair which has an equal amount of binding energy. In smaller nuclides the binding energy is due largely to the large values for the spin pairs. For larger nuclides the large number of the smaller valued interactions becomes more significant that the few large values for the spin pairs.


The conventional explanation of quark theory asserts that the interaction force increases with separation distance. There is a serious problem with this formulation because would imply great effects on a quark from quarks in the next room or in the next galaxy. There must be some exclusivity principles involved. There could be one that applies to spin pairing and another for the nucleonic force.

This leaves Quantum Chromodynamics to be examined.

(To be continued.)


The conventional theory of the nuclear Strong Force apparently conflated the exclusive spin pairing and the force due to nucleonic charge. A replacement of the Strong Force with spin-pairing would leave particle physics unaffected. Interesting developments may follow from the incorporation within particle physics of the nucleonic force in which like particles repel and unlike particles attract.

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