If you continually add water to an unbreakable container, Charlie tells me that you will eventually get strange matter.
I’ve been alive for five decades and have never heard of a strange matter before.
He keeps doing this to me:
Tells me about something I’ve never heard of before but feel like I should’ve known all along.
But it’s admittedly an interesting theoretical question:
What happens when you continue to add water to an unbreakable container?
So I did some reading, and it turns out that Charlie is right. You would theoretically get strange matter.
“Theoretically,” Charlie explains because if strange matter exists, it can only be found at the center of a neutron star and a black hole, so its existence has not been verified. “Only mathematically calculated,” he says.
Just those words are both impressive and frustrating.
Please note that this is the same kid whose shoes can often be found in two different rooms. He’s the same boy who can’t apply cream cheese to a bagel or carry a beach chair without complaining. He can’t remember to say excuse me when he burps, has never turned off a light in his life, and moos like a cow incessantly.
He’s not some super genius.
Yet he seems to understand strange matter, which I didn’t understand for all of my life. I didn’t know it exists for all of my life.
According to my reading, strange matter is created when nuclear matter (made of protons and neutrons) is compressed beyond a critical density. At this extreme pressure and density, the protons and neutrons dissociate into quarks, yielding quark matter and, theoretically, strange matter.
Strange matter is also apparently contagious:
Theoretically, if strange matter were to touch not-so-strange matter, it would turn that not-so-strange matter into strange matter.
I have no idea why this is so.
“So strange matter is like the zombies of the sub-atomic world,” I told Charlie admittedly excited about my comparison.
“No,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Not even close. Strange matter is made of quarks. Not zombies. It’s really not that hard to understand.”
Quarks are the fundamental building blocks of matter. An atom is made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Quarks are what make up the protons and neutrons.
Apparently, electrons are just electrons. They are made up only of themselves.
I’m sure Charlie knows this, too, and probably even more about quarks than I already know, but I’m not going to engage him in a discussion about quarks unless he makes me.
I’m tired of being the dumb one in our relationship.