I know outside a nucleus, neutrons are unstable and they have half life of about 15 minutes. But when they are together with protons inside the nucleus, they are stable. How does that happen?
I got this from wikipedia:
When bound inside of a nucleus, the instability of a single neutron to beta decay is balanced against the instability that would be acquired by the nucleus as a whole if an additional proton were to participate in repulsive interactions with the other protons that are already present in the nucleus. As such, although free neutrons are unstable, bound neutrons are not necessarily so. The same reasoning explains why protons, which are stable in empty space, may transform into neutrons when bound inside of a nucleus.
But I don't think I get what that really means. What happens inside the nucleus that makes neutrons stable?
Is it the same thing that happens inside a neutron star's core? Because, neutrons seem to be stable in there too.