Rick's Critique of the Cosmic Coincidences: Appendix F

The Strong Nuclear Force: Definition of the Strong Coupling Strength, gs

It is very challenging to give a simple account of the strong nuclear force which is sufficient to provide a quantitative definition of the strong coupling constant. This is attempted here, very imperfectly, by appeal to the old fashioned pion exchange theory of the strong force. This permits the low energy constant, gs, to be related to the effective Yukawa potential between nucleons in nuclei. Like Appendix E for the weak force, intuitive appeal is made to field energy densities as a classical surrogate for quantum fields.

What needs to be stressed is that the pion exchange model of the strong force is extremely approximate and intended only to give a feel for its strength. Even at low energies, the pion exchange picture of the nuclear force is not at all adequate really. And at higher energies it is found that the actual field quanta of the strong force are not pions at all, but gluons. This will be discussed briefly in Appendix G.

The development of this Appendix is rather a travesty of the current understanding of the nuclear force via the standard model of particle physics and the associated SU(3) gauge theory. However, it is arguably more relevant after the first millisecond. This is because energies are then low, and in the regime where the old fashioned low energy coupling, gs, is appropriate if crude.

Read Cosmic Coincidences Appendix F: The Strong Nuclear Force: Definition of the Strong Coupling, gs

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