It's the infinitesimally small subatomic particle which forms matter, a type of curdled cheese from soured milk, is used in computer language and in sci-fi fiction names, but where in lyrics?
Quarks, undetectable on their own, in theoretic physics combine to form hadrons, such as protons and neutrons. In 1963 physicist Murray Gell-Man proposed a name for his concept of an elementary particle smaller than a proton or a neutron. It was inspired by James Joyces's novel Finnegans Wake, in which the author created a variety of odd, nonsense words. The physicist was using words such as squeak and squork for his idea, but then saw these lines in the Joyce which worked perfectly because the hypothetical particles also came in threes:
Three quarks for Muster Mark!
Sure he has not got much of a bark
And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.
Quark is a also that cheese brand product, and has been variously used for company names, in computer science, as well as sci-fi books and characters, such as Star Trek and Doctor Who.
But in lyrics, the best known is Hawkwind's Quark, Strangeness and Charm from the 1977 album of the same name, is a song about how scientists including Einstein were unable to discover the elusive element that brings love:
Copernicus had those Renaissance ladies
Crazy about his telescope
And Galileo had a name that made his
Reputation higher than his hopes
Did none of these astronomers discover
While they were staring out into the dark
That what a lady looks for in her lover
Is charm, strangeness and quark
Quark, Strangeness and Charm
Quark, Strangeness and Charm …
In an opposite perspective, Bad Science's Cursive, from that title's 2006 album, associates the particle with teachers and parents killing fun for chemistry lessons.
No skateboards, no swimming pools
Until you've finished your state-approved chemistry
Kid! Break it down to the electron and the quark
And please tell us what happens when the particles spark
Every molecule, every atom
Every single particle down to the quark
Do the breaking apart!
Quark also comes up in Ambitious by Wire, from album Tthe Ideal Copy, 1987:
Chain link route ways
Digital time base
New hours for these days
New files engaged
Quarks and order
When it's cold I feel cold
When it's hot I feel ambitious
Fit for a princess
Hot on the heels of an angel
Quarks are very small indeed, but are their any other quarks hiding in lyrics, or any other uses, in science or culture out there. Please share your microscopic findings in comments below.
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