I make up everything

But I am nothing without the others

When I change, my buddy changes

But it's likely, I'll never meet my buddy

You'll never see me

But you can know who I am

  • This is my first riddle. Forgive me for the sentences that don't fit in - or if it's too hard or easy. – joppiesaus Apr 4 '15 at 10:16
  • 4
    Former NBC news anchor Brian Williams? – smci Apr 4 '15 at 16:02
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I think you are

Quarks

I make up everything

Quarks are one type of matter particle. Most of the matter we see around us is made from protons and neutrons, which are composed of quarks.

But I am nothing without the others

There are six types of quarks, known as flavors: up, down, strange, charm, top, and bottom. A proton, composed of two up quarks, one down quark and the gluons "binding" them together. The color assignment of individual quarks is not important, only that all three colors be present.

When I change, my buddy changes

A quark of one flavor can transform into a quark of another flavor only through the weak interaction, one of the four fundamental interactions in particle physics. By absorbing or emitting a W boson, any up-type quark (up, charm, and top quarks) can change into any down-type quark (down, strange, and bottom quarks) and vice versa.

But it's likely, I'll never meet my buddy

Here buddy would mean antiquark. For every quark flavor there is a corresponding type of antiparticle, known as an antiquark, that differs from the quark only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign. And when they combine / meet they annihilate

You'll never see me

But you can know who I am

Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons, such as baryons (of which protons and neutrons are examples), and mesons.

  • 2
    The "buddy changes" part may refer to quantum entanglement. – Lawrence Apr 4 '15 at 12:28
  • @Lawrence Yes, I meant quantum entanglement, this is "right" aswell. Great! :) – joppiesaus Apr 4 '15 at 12:37

I had fun with this one. Read the accepted answer first. :)

You are

Quark, the Ferengi

I make up everything

Everyone knows Quark lies about anything he can get away with

But I am nothing without the others

Quark will exploit anyone and everyone he can for personal gain. He himself doesn't do much work, so without others to exploit he would be nothing. Also, to Quark, the opinion of others is everything. He doesn't just want to be rich, he wants to be powerful - without people to be powerful over, he would not be a happy Ferengi.

When I change, my buddy changes

Throughout the seasons of DS9, Quark began to show interest in occasionally taking the non-greedy path, especially as his nephew, Nog, showed interest in Starfleet.

But it's likely, I'll never meet my buddy

Nog has joined Starfleet and is therefore unlike to run into his greedy uncle again.

You'll never see me

Quark prefers to hire people to do his dirty work for him. And clean work, for that matter.

But you can know who I am

Quark's objective is to be famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion). And he's always looking for new business ventures. His publicity is considerably high, especially considering his remote location on an outpost near Bajor.

  • Creative! You are both wrong and right. – joppiesaus May 16 '15 at 20:02

I am late to the party, but I wanted to add another answer (a not as microscopic one):

MY ANSWER: Electron

I make up everything

Electrons are a component of every atom

But I am nothing without the others

My interpretation here is that electrons contribute virtually nothing to the mass of an object. "The others" being protons and neutrons. I realize that electrons (beta particles) are not 'nothing'.

When I change, my buddy changes

In an electric current, when an electron changes from one locale to the next, its 'buddy' electrons are moving along with that flow.

But it's likely, I'll never meet my buddy

electrons are all negatively charged: they repel each other

You'll never see me

too small to see!

But you can know who I am

You know when you've been hit with electrons... zapped with electricity!

I pretty sure the answer is related to physics, so I'll try a easy one for now:

Atom

I make up everything

No need to explain, I guess

But I am nothing without the others

You need many atoms, not only one

When I change, my buddy changes

May be a reference to matter/antimatter or to sub-atomic particles.

But it's likely, I'll never meet my buddy

Matter is unlikely to meet antimatter nowadays.

You'll never see me

You can't directly observe an atom.

But you can know who I am

Our knowledge about atoms is very deep.

  • "May be a reference to matter/antimatter or to sub-atomic particles." this is the part where you should think "Hey, it could be that too." – joppiesaus Apr 4 '15 at 12:39

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