When I was young, as I was discovering atoms, protons, neutrons and company, in popular works, I asked myself, like many, "What in the world can hold them together?"
I became deeply intrigued, as I read various popular works, to discover that scientists thought that it apparently was not gravitation that did the job, and even more so, when I realized that contemporary scientists were not in agreement as to the cause of gravitation.
What surprised me the most was, despite the fact that practically all of matter's mass was concentrated in the nuclei of atoms, that gravitational attraction as described by Newton was considered much too weak to hold the components of atoms together! I thought: "How could they make such an assertion if they don't even know what gravitation is?".
Other works asserted that gravitational attraction did not even exist, but that it was a kind of "curvature" of spacetime which explained the apparent attraction between celestial bodies, and that they did not really attract one another!
Moreover, in still other works, it was asserted that it wasn't the curvature of spacetime, nor Newton's force of attraction which held the atoms together, but an exchange of virtual energy between the nuclei and electrons, and that the particles were not really attracted to one another.
By associating the idea of a Maxwellian electromagnetic field with the theory of quantum mechanics, and with the fabric, so to speak, of Einstein's spacetime curvature, some even put forward the idea of the existence of hypothetical particles, gravitons, which would be the cause of attraction between celestial bodies in conjunction with "gravitational waves" that would vibrate, so to speak, the fabric of this spacetime curvature that we have just spoken about.
Wow! What an imbroglio!
Who is Wrong? Who is Right?