I had learned that what keeps the protons and neutrons bound is the strong force and the weak force has to do with radioactive decay. but today I read an article from Science Daily that contradicts this. Here is the quote: “Protons and neutrons are made of smaller particles called quarks that are bound together by the strong interaction, which is one of the four known forces of nature: strong force, electromagnetism, weak force and gravity. The weak force exists in the tiny distance within and between protons and neutrons; the strong interaction confines quarks in neutrons and protons.” Can this be clarified by the community? Thanks!
I think it is a poor phrasing. The strong force is responsible for keeping quarks together inside a proton or a neutron, but also between quarks belonging to different proton/neutron (but I am not sure for proton-proton interaction because of the repulsive electromagnetic force).
By contrast, the weak force is responsible for turning one type of quarks into another type or quarks, thus transforming a proton into a neutron in the case of beta+ radioactive decay, with emission of a positron (the overall charge is always conserved).
Strong force holds protons together. It is actually called the residual strong force. It is unlike the strong force inside protons and neutrons where if you pull a quark you can never pull it out of a proton or neutron. Nuclear strong force has a range. The weak force is what makes protons and neutrons turn from one to another.