|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive, Arcanum Unbounded|
In the cosmere, axi is a word that either means an atom (in the scientific sense) or the more ambiguous concept of the smallest division of matter. The latter definition might apply to subatomic particles or other types of entities, depending on the theoretical model espoused by the one using the word.
Use in Roshar
The exact definition of axi among Rosharan scholars is uncertain, as it is unknown how modern their studies of "axial" physics are compared to their Yolish counterparts who are aware of subatomic particles. For example, it is unclear whether a typical Rosharan scholar would know the difference between fundamental particles, chemical elements, and molecules.
The word axi is used to describe the individual components of air that are aligned and packed together during the process of Soulcasting them. These axi are likely the various types of gas particles in the air, most of which are molecules consisting of two or more atoms.
In Surgebinding, the Surges of Cohesion and Tension are defined as being related to different types of axial interconnection, with Cohesion being the Surge of strong axial interconnection and Tension being the Surge of soft axial interconnection. This indicates that these Surges work on the bonds between axi.
As Khriss mentions it while discussing Rosharan Surgebinding, the strong axial force is likely the same thing as the above-mentioned term strong axial interconnection, or the Surge of Cohesion.
Similarly, soft axial interconnection, or the Surge of Tension, is likely related to another force that Khriss mentions in the same text, namely surface tension.
- The terms strong axial force and strong axial interconnection are reminiscent of the strong interaction in physics, responsible for the strong nuclear force between nucleons and the color force between quarks. None of this is directly related to the scientific concept of cohesion, which is more about the attraction between molecules of the same kind.
- Brandon has spoken about the nuclear forces and other fundamental forces being the inspiration behind the Surges. However, he also qualified this by saying that he was not actually using those specific forces exactly, but is rather using more fanciful ideas partially derived from the concept of fundamental forces. Thus, the similarity between the strong axial force and the strong nuclear force might just be mostly in the name. This is likely the same for the soft axial interconnection and the weak nuclear force.
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