All matter atoms consist of protons (with charge) and neutrons (without charge) in their nucleus. Each nucleus is depicted as being surrounded by as many electrons as there are protons.

Hydrogen is the simplest, lightest atom, with just a single proton in its nucleus. All the other elements are made up by adding protons and neutrons to the nucleus. The force that binds the particles together in the nucleus is the strong force. It acts on a very local level, but, as its name would imply, it is very powerful. It attracts protons to protons, neutrons to neutrons and protons to neutrons. So, what is the strong force, exactly?

Well, if we have two charged particles, two protons, they are attracted to one another by gravity, but they are also repelled from one another, because they both have similar charges, by the electrostatic force. Put two protons side by side and the electrostatic force is far, far greater than the force of gravity. It all works by these principles:

### Gravitation

The

*Universal Gravitation Equation*states the force of attraction between two objects, where the mass is considered concentrated at their centres of mass:**F = GMm/R2**

where

·

**F**is the force of attraction between two objects
·

**G**is the Universal Gravitational Constant, 6.67384 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2
·

**M**and**m**are the masses of the two point objects
·

**R**is the separation between the centres of the objects### Electrostatic

The electrostatic force equation is called

*Coulomb's Law*and states the force of attraction between particles of opposite electrical charge. It also represents the force of repulsion for like charges:**F = keqQ/r2**

where

·

**F**is the force of attraction or repulsion between two electrically charged particles
·

**ke**is the Coulomb force constant, 8.9875 x 109 N.m2/C2
·

**q**and**Q**are point charges of the two particles
·

**r**is the separation between the particles
The thing to notice about the above, is that both forces have a constant term involved in their calculations. If you were to put the figures into the equations, because the electrostatic force constant is so huge and because the gravitational force constant is so diminishingly tiny, the electrostatic repulsion is far more effective than the gravitational attraction. So, as the logic goes, it must be a stronger force than gravity at work in the nucleus of atoms – the strong force.

* * *

But what

*are*these constants that play such a significant part in the calculations of these forces? The gravitational and electrostatic constants are not alone; constants occur frequently in nature. Take light, for example. The speed of light is a constant, at around 300,000,000 metres per second. It never alters, no matter how fast the measurer is travelling (in other words, it is not relative to the speed of anything else). But we must measure the speed of light*between*things; metres per second means space in time. Time and space are the same thing –*exactly*the same thing.
So, if we were to measure the speed of light between two particles, two protons, we would get 300,000 km/s, of course. But then what would happen if we were to get the two particles to exist in the same space and time? (This happens during nuclear fusion, which is what powers the sun.) It's easy to see that there could

*be*no speed of light, as there are no metres and no seconds between them.
It was the German theoretical physicist Max Planck who suggested that the speed of light would be unified at distances approaching zero (1 planck length = 1.6162 x 10-35 metres – an unimaginably tiny distance!). At these minuscule distances, the constant speed of light is unified to 1, as are many other constants, including the gravitational and electrostatic constants.

If we were to go back now, to within the nucleus of the atom as it were, and do the gravitational and electrostatic calculations, unifying the constants to 1, we would find that gravitational attraction is by far the greater force, massively overpowering the electrostatic repulsion. Gravity is, therefore, very, very strong at these distances. In fact, when protons are fused, with only planck lengths or less between them, gravity

*is*the strong force, increasing to infinity as we approach the atom's centre. Gravity becomes so powerful here, that nothing can escape it, not even light – which is the very definition of a black hole.
What we are suggesting then, is at the heart of every simple atom, and by that I mean the hydrogen atom, the single proton, is a black hole.

* * *

Now imagine a black hole in space. Black holes, as we said, have a centre where gravity is so great that nothing can escape from it, not even light. So, just picture if this black hole were the only thing that existed in the universe – there would be no matter, just this pin-point of gravity surrounded by nothing. Could the black hole exist? Unless it has a gravitational effect on something, how can it be anything? There is no light, no matter – without them, there cannot be a black hole. There has to be something to have a hole in – if we don't, we have no black hole!

If we had a universe with one proton in it, there would be no spacetime – there would still be nothing. All matter is energy and energy must be gauged from some reference point, a datum. A single proton's energy measured from the datum of itself would give nothing. There must be a difference – there has to be other matter.

So, let us then say we could have a universe with just two protons in it. Now we have distance between them, and we have energy levels to gauge from one to the other. Spacetime now exists between the two protons, so time passes. The distance between them doesn't just measure the time that has passed between them – it

*is*the time that has passed between them! The time doesn't exist without this distance. And now we can have relative motion between the two particles. What we are saying is that particles only exist with absolute relativity to other particles.
And protons have a black hole at their nucleus: protons are gravity, then? They are essentially constructed of curved space, if we are to use Einstein's General Relativity, which we must. (General Relativity defines gravity as a geometric effect of acceleration, without the need for any “carrier particle”, the graviton, which has been proposed, but never found.)

What, then, is curved space? Time (and therefore space) is continuously cascading into the black hole. This is gravity - there is essentially no difference between time cascading inwards and the black hole expanding outwards in all three dimensions in time. It is as if every atom is attempting to fill the whole of space and time. So, as the moon, for example, free-falls past the earth, the relative expansion of the earth and the moon take up the increase in space between them. The moon's velocity prevents the gap being “swallowed up” entirely. In this way, the moon experiences no force of gravity, but is locked onto a geometric pattern of orbit.

Drop two very different weights from the leaning tower of Pisa and (without air friction effects) they both stay suspended side by side and wait as the earth effectively takes up the space between them. Or imagine two astronauts suspended in space looking out towards the stars surrounding them at great distances. What neither space-traveller has noticed is the atmosphere-free planet behind them. They will feel nothing. They are not moving, apparently. But this thing, a whole planet is expanding behind them at an alarmingly accelerating rate. What would they ever know of its existence? There would be no clue that they are within the planet's “gravitational field”. The planet will expand behind them and collect them onto its surface, holding them there, all apparently still, at rest - for the astronauts, probably for ever.

Matter creates space and therefore both matter and space are dynamic. What we have gauged as the nucleus of the atom is where we, i.e. other atoms, cannot easily go. As each atom expands outwards, it encounters other atoms all attempting to occupy the same space (and time). The black hole at the centre of each is attempting to consume everything around it. But it has encountered another black hole. Event horizon meets event horizon. Each particle is a continuum of curved space, but each has met a limit. As matter objects ourselves, we can only ever gauge these limits and define them as a nucleus.

The matter particles will “fend off” one another unless they are forced into ever greater proximity. Given the right conditions, the right energy, the two particles can be forced to occupy the same space, the same time, in which they can operate as one – i.e. two protons become one proton and a neutron, which is what nuclear fusion is (not quite as simple as this, as four hydrogen atoms, protons, fuse to become two protons and two neutrons, the helium atom; but essentially, that is what is happening.) So, if we force two photons to operate as one unit, a different type of (composite) atom, there will be no distance between them, therefore no time exists between them. They are essentially the same thing.

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