Full article: http://www.linuxelectrons.com/article.php/20041005140625856 David Gross, David Politzer and Frank Wilczek have made an important theoretical discovery concerning the strong force, or the 'colour force' as it is also called. The strong force is the one that is dominant in the atomic nucleus, acting between the quarks inside the proton and the neutron. What this year's Laureates discovered was something that, at first sight, seemed completely contradictory....When the quarks are really close to each other, the force is so weak that they behave almost as free particles. This phenomenon is called asymptotic freedom. The converse is true when the quarks move apart: the force becomes stronger when the distance increases. This property may be compared to a rubber band. The more the band is stretched, the stronger the force.