irst off, I never said that "mathematics is 'hard' and therefore science is too so oh I'll never be able to understand it so I won't even bother trying." That's a ridiculous strawman argument.

That's right. You didn't say that.

*I* said that, and I said it as a part of

*my* argument, not as a rebuttal to yours.

There is a popular conception that mathematics is hard. If you don't realise that, then you obviously live on a different planet from the one I live on. Kids are reluctant to study maths because it's hard and it's boring, and they can't see what application it has to their lives. The application of course is science, which means that once kids realise that most science is mathematics, they get discouraged from studying it formally. But as it turns out, it's possible to know quite a lot

*about* science - how it works and how scientists come to the conclusions they do, as well as a few things about those conclusions - without knowing the underlying mathematics behind it. If it's impossible to know science without knowing mathematics, then I'm afraid you just put Neil Degrasse Tyson out of a job by eliminating the entire field of science communication and wrapping it all up into maths teaching.

You seem to think that having memorized a collection of very specific little factoids about quantum mechanics means that you have an understanding of the field of particle physics. I'm saying that demonstrates a pretty obvious case of Dunning-Kruger.

Yeah, I can see why you might think that. But in my case I recognise that I don't have that underlying mathematics, and therefore my ability to

*perform calculations* in the field is nonexistent, which is something that I have already acknowledged. Furthermore, in my lifetime I have done just a touch more than "memorise a collection of very specific little factoids". Just a touch. Thirty years of interest in a subject will do that to a person. Want to take a look at my small library of science books? Actually they're scattered all over the place (some of them not even in this house), so I can't get a good photo.

Turns out one of my favourite science books is Brian Greene's

*The Elegant Universe*, which contains an excellent non-mathematical description of quantum mechanics, with endnotes "for the mathematically inclined". It won the 2000 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, so you know it's not some trashy hack piece. I recommend it.

If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then please explain, in layman's terms, what quantum chromodynamics is, what function it performs, and the underlying mechanisms by which it works.

Sure. Quantum chromodynamics describes the strong nuclear force, and it is what holds quarks together to make protons and neutrons. Like the other forces, it works by exchanging force-carrying particles called

*gluons*. It's called "chromodynamics" because gluons come in three different "colours" which are not actually colours as we know them, but it's a convenient way of referring to the differences between them. Which colours are exchanged determines how and in what combinations quarks stick together, which in turn determines what kind of particle they form.

That was from memory - I didn't look it up. Now, are you satisfied that I do actually know a little bit, or do you have some other challenge to set me? Schroedinger's Cat, perhaps? The two-slit experiment?