Does the nucleus weigh less than the sum of its constituent particles?

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Offline geo driver

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reading through a book the other day i can across this, and i just dont understand it , why is the mass of the nucleus less than that of its parts?
« Last Edit: 23/08/2011 08:56:28 by chris »
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Offline Kryptid

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It has to do with being in a state of lower energy.

When you fuse a proton and neutron into a deuterium nucleus, the deuterium nucleus is in a lower energy state than the individual proton and neutron. Due to Einstein's mass-energy equivalence, lower energy = lower mass. So what happens to that extra mass? It is released in the form of energy (perhaps in the form of photons, though I'm not sure of that. Could also be mesons, I guess).
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