What is Fundamental forces: Definition and 73 Discussions

In physics, the fundamental interactions, also known as fundamental forces, are the interactions that do not appear to be reducible to more basic interactions. There are four fundamental interactions known to exist: the gravitational and electromagnetic interactions, which produce significant long-range forces whose effects can be seen directly in everyday life, and the strong and weak interactions, which produce forces at minuscule, subatomic distances and govern nuclear interactions. Some scientists hypothesize that a fifth force might exist, but these hypotheses remain speculative.Each of the known fundamental interactions can be described mathematically as a field. The gravitational force is attributed to the curvature of spacetime, described by Einstein's general theory of relativity. The other three are discrete quantum fields, and their interactions are mediated by elementary particles described by the Standard Model of particle physics.Within the Standard Model, the strong interaction is carried by a particle called the gluon, and is responsible for quarks binding together to form hadrons, such as protons and neutrons. As a residual effect, it creates the nuclear force that binds the latter particles to form atomic nuclei. The weak interaction is carried by particles called W and Z bosons, and also acts on the nucleus of atoms, mediating radioactive decay. The electromagnetic force, carried by the photon, creates electric and magnetic fields, which are responsible for the attraction between orbital electrons and atomic nuclei which holds atoms together, as well as chemical bonding and electromagnetic waves, including visible light, and forms the basis for electrical technology. Although the electromagnetic force is far stronger than gravity, it tends to cancel itself out within large objects, so over large (astronomical) distances gravity tends to be the dominant force, and is responsible for holding together the large scale structures in the universe, such as planets, stars, and galaxies.
Many theoretical physicists believe these fundamental forces to be related and to become unified into a single force at very high energies on a minuscule scale, the Planck scale, but particle accelerators cannot produce the enormous energies required to experimentally probe this. Devising a common theoretical framework that would explain the relation between the forces in a single theory is perhaps the greatest goal of today's theoretical physicists. The weak and electromagnetic forces have already been unified with the electroweak theory of Sheldon Glashow, Abdus Salam, and Steven Weinberg for which they received the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics. Some physicists seek to unite the electroweak and strong fields within what is called a Grand Unified Theory (GUT). An even bigger challenge is to find a way to quantize the gravitational field, resulting in a theory of quantum gravity (QG) which would unite gravity in a common theoretical framework with the other three forces. Some theories, notably string theory, seek both QG and GUT within one framework, unifying all four fundamental interactions along with mass generation within a theory of everything (ToE).

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  1. Zeeshan Ahmad

    I Exploring the Oddities of the Four Fundamental Forces

    As we know that their are four fundamental force in nature Namely Electromagnetic force, strong and weak nuclear force and the gravity But we study regarding their properties And compare their properties we see a strange thing That for the case of strong nuclear force enspite of being the...
  2. F

    Four fundamental forces of physics -- explanation for dummies please

    I am not sure if this is the correct place to post so I am very sorry if I am posting in the wrong place. I am looking to have the four fundamental forces of physics explained as simply as possible, I have been doing some online research to try to understand it and I am having a hard time...
  3. J

    Fundamental Forces: Spring Question

    ma=-k2l+k1l (ma-k1l)/l=-k (-65.12-35.7)/0.51=-k k=197.69, but answer should be 57.7
  4. J

    Fundamental Forces: finding velocity using different fields and forces

    So I know the acceleration is 0, so the net force is 0. QE=1.6E-3*9.9E3 k hat = 15.84 k hat (thats one force) qv x B = q(v i hat + v j hat) x (0.51 i hat + 0.10 j hat) =q(0.10 v k hat- 0.51 v k hat) =q(-0.41 v k hat) =-0.000656 v k hat Now solving for velocity, 0.000656v=15.84...
  5. J

    Fundamental Forces: Force of one charged particle on another

    So first I did the vector stuff. r2-r1= 1.3 i hat-47.5 j hat-14.5 k hat magnitude = 49.68 magnitude squared = 2468.19 Now plugging it all in... F=9E9*6.3E-3*2.8E-3/2468.19=64.322 y vector, -47.5/49.68=-0.956119 j hat Multiply this by force and I get -61.499 but answer should be -36.14
  6. J

    Fundamental Forces Problem: Acceleration from Planet

    I know its something to do with my unit conversions because my answer is the right numbers but too small by a factor of 10000. I convert the radius to meters by multiplying it by 1000. I convert the density to kg/m^3 by dividing it by 10. I find the volume using the equation (4/3)*pi*radius^3...
  7. J

    Fundamental Forces Problem: Net Force from Gravity

    So what I did was find each of the forces the masses had on m1 using the above equation. From m2 I found 19.975 in the negative i hat and for m4 i found 29.96 in the positive k hat direction using the above equation. For m3 I used pythagorean theorem to calculate r, which was 3.25 (so r^2 was...
  8. J

    Fundamental Forces: Placing charges along a line so that the net force is zero at a point

    So 0=q1q3/r+q2q3/(13.6-r) 0=-8.5/r-3.63/13.6+3.63/r 0.2669=3.63/r-8.5/r r=-18.2465, but the answer is supposed to be 8.24
  9. SamRoss

    B Simple forces described in terms of fundamental forces

    My first question is actually, what happens when any two objects get near each other? This question is often phrased as "Why can't you really touch anything?" or "Why can't you walk through walls?" I have heard two answers: 1. the repulsion between electrons 2. the Pauli exclusion principle...
  10. S

    A Standard Model and number of fundamental forces

    Just a curious question, is there a limit within the standard model on how many fundamental forces there can be? I have some familiarity with particle physics/QFT(not quite mastery obviously otherwise Id probably be able to answer this myself) and the thought popped in my head when reading about...
  11. G

    I What Does Gauge Invariance Tell Us About Reality?

    This is not a technical question. I'd like to have a more conceptual discussion about what - if anything - gauge invariance tells us about reality. If we could, please try to keep the discussion at the level of undergrad or beginning grad. To focus my questions and keep things elementary, I'd...
  12. C

    I Is this outline of particle physics right?

    Just a quick query here: Is the outline of particle physics at the link below right? I have found it very helpful in a general way, but I am only just learning this stuff and don't want to be misled. https://physics.info/standard/concept-map.pdf Thanks!
  13. C

    I The weak force as an attractive force

    Hi all, how much merit does this answer have on Quora? There also an identical answer on Physics Stack Exchange so it'd be nice to confirm or deny the validity of these. Thanks!
  14. Khatti

    Technological mastery of fundamental forces

    This may be an overly-broad question, but is there any reason to think we will ever have the technical mastery over gravity, the strong force, and the weak force, that we have over electromagnetism? Example: turn on a switch, gravity; turn off a switch, no gravity.
  15. Wes Turner

    What are the dominant forces in different situations?

    I volunteered to help tutor students in a nearby high school in math and science. I got two seniors from an AP Physics class. I'm doing OK with most of the problems, but it's been almost 50 years since my last physics class, so I'm more than a little rusty in some details. I'm hoping I can get...
  16. Mayan Fung

    I Fundamental Forces: Electromagnetic, Gravity, Strong & Weak Interactions

    As far as I know, we regard the electromagnetic force, gravity, strong and weak interactions as the four fundamental forces. We know that Newton's law of gravitation does not perform as well as Einstein's general relativity. Scientists are now using energy-stress tensor to describe...
  17. K

    I Does bosonic superpartners create new fundamental forces?

    in broken supersymmetry every fermion has a super partner that is a boson, with same internal quantum numbers, except mass. i.e superpartner of an electron is a selectron, which is a boson. in QFT gauge bosons are force carriers. gauge bosons with mass create a force that is short-ranged...
  18. G

    How Do Magnets Really Work? Investigating the Complex Phenomenon of Magnetism

    Hello PF! I am writing a scientific report about magnets, but have really no clue how magnets actually work? Research has yielded a few ideas, specifically from here and here. However, sometimes (in iron, nickel, and cobalt for example) you’ll have one or more un-paired electrons. The...
  19. GhostLoveScore

    I How fast do fundamental forces propagate?

    So, I've been looking at this chart Only Electro-magnetic force is carried by massless particle - photon. And it propagates at the speed of light. Now take Weak and Strong force. They are carried by bosons and gluons. They have mass. So, what is the speed of propagation of Weak and Strong...
  20. S

    A Can a Scalar Field Exist Without a Net Source?

    The magnetic field has no net source or sinks i.e. number of sources are equal to the number of sinks. Can a scalar field also have no net source? Or a source is required for a scalar field?
  21. N

    Need help with the 4 fundamental forces of Nature

    Hey everyone, I am currently in the middle of research for a science fiction /fantasy novel where the magic system is based on the ability of a group of people to manipulate the four fundamental forces of physics. Of these four, coming up with ways that individuals could manipulate gravity and...
  22. B

    Anthropomorfic Fundamental Forces

    Hello everyone, I'm a Belgium based writer, currently working on my debut novel that mixes scientific fact with Biblical mythology. My main characters are the physical manifestations of concepts. Now, Amber, the lead, is Koved, the Malach ("angel"/manifestation) of gravity. Her predecessor...
  23. paulo84

    Electromagnetic spectrum/(dark)matter/4 fundamental forces

    OK, I need some help understanding some stuff. The way I see it: you've got 4 fundamental forces in physics right? I believe these are gravity, electromagnetic, strong interaction and weak interaction. The electromagnetic spectrum is basically waves with photons (photons in all of the...
  24. M

    Imperial QFFF vs Cambridge Part III

    Hi there, this has probably been done to death on countless other threads, but I just thought it would be better to get more personal and actual direct replies by making my own post. I plan to go on and study theoretical physics and I've been accepted into both QFFF and Part III Applied Maths...
  25. Saffat Rafsan

    Uncovering the Truth About Gravity: Exploring the Role of Atomic Space

    Today i was just randomly browsing the internet. Then i found this image: What if gravity is not the weakest fundamental force at all? Like the picture above if we remove the space among all atoms the Earth will occupy relatively a very small space. Then we know the gravity of that tiny...
  26. A

    What to Read/Study in Physics if I want to be a Physicict

    Hey I'm new to this forum and I'm 14 and I want to be a future Physicist (Probably Particle Physicist ) and I was wondering what books are good for starting out , just to let you know what kind of content I'm looking for I already know about General relativity , special relatativity , and the...
  27. M

    Can all fundamental forces be fictitious force ?

    After reading many questions, , I wonder: is it possible to consider also the other fundamental forces, the electroweak interaction and the strong interaction or ultimately the unification of these, to be fictitious forces like gravity in the framework of general relativity? If we want a final...
  28. mokeejoe5

    Understanding the Weak Interaction: What Causes It & What is Its Range?

    Recently it struck me that I'm not sure I understand the weak interaction at all. What causes it to happen? I know that its mediated by the W and Z bosons and has a short range as a result of the large mass these bosons posses, but what does that range refer to? Range from what?!
  29. avito009

    Why is the strong nuclear force the strongest of the four fundamental forces?

    Is more force required at smaller distances like the nucleous of an atom? Since strong force applies itself at the level of the atom does that prove that more force is required at smaller distances to attract according to the inverse square law? Does strong nuclear force obey the inverse square...
  30. H

    Fundamental forces and Pauli's exclusion principle

    To which type of Fundamental forces below the Pauli's exclusion belong? Strong nuclear forces Coulomb forces Weak nuclear forces Gravitational forces
  31. L

    Diagram of relative strengths of fundamental forces

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post- sorry if it's not. ********* Does anyone have an image or link to a website that shows the relative strengths of the strong, weak and electromagnetic forces as a function of energy? I like it as a way to explain spontaneous symmetry breaking...
  32. N

    The fundamental forces and elementary particles at absolute zero

    We all know that there four fundamental forces in nature, viz. The gravitational force The electromagnetic force The strong nuclear force The weak nuclear force Now also we know that temperature of any system is the average kinetic energy possessed by the particles of the system Now...
  33. T

    Help with the fundamental forces.

    Could someone help me understand the four fundamental forces? I'd like to set up a thought experiment as well: Let's break up our solar system into individual atoms, and create a gas cloud about the size of our solar system. All things like they are, the gas should slowly come together...
  34. T

    Is all motion really the result of fundamental forces?

    I'm in 11th grade of high school and I'm currently in Advanced Pre-Calc and AP Stats and I am teaching myself Physics from a textbook at home (which is Algebra based) because of my intense interest in physics. I also taught myself how to differentiate (on Wikipedia) because of the boredom I felt...
  35. O

    Fundamental Forces: Explaining to a 13yo

    How are the normal, static friction, kinetic friction, gravity, electrical and magnetic forces related to the four fundamental forces of nature? I have a 13 year old asking and I am not sure what to say! Any help is kindly appreciated.
  36. adjacent

    Where does potential energy come from?

    Gravity pulls things down.Things then gain kinetic energy.When you lift something it has gravitational potential energy.I know that potential energy is transformed into kinetic but according to the law of conservation of energy, potential energy must also be transformed from some other type of...
  37. L

    Is the Universe able to evolve due to fundamental forces?

    I'm sorry if I posted this is the wrong section, but I was wondering if fundamental forces evolve? In other words, can universes evolve. Since stagnant ones eventually die out. And the successful ones produce black holes; transferring matter into a whole new beginning.
  38. A

    Confusion about gravity and the fundamental forces

    I understand that there are 4 fundamental "forces" of nature that we've identified; gravity, electromagnetism, and the two nuclear forces. However, I have been under the impression that gravity isn't a "force" in the same way that the others are. From what I figured, a force is something that...
  39. C

    Fundamental forces. gluons/pions

    Homework Statement I'm not sure how pions relate to the strong force. My notes say that only gluons propagate the strong force between quarks - holding a neutron together, and that residual force (I imagine between the quarks of neutrons and protons) holds neutrons and protons together in...
  40. T

    Four Fundamental Forces - What Is the Fourth?

    four forces? There are four forces supposedly. But isn't gravity not a force. It appears like a force but what we see as effects of gravity is really a warping of space due to the effects of mass on that area of space. In other words, there is really no force causing things to attract...
  41. B

    What Are the Force Carriers in the Four Fundamental Forces of Physics?

    I teach myself physics. I find it pretty easy but I was getting stuck on this one principle. I was reading about the four fundamental forces of physics. I read that some particles (i.e. Gravitons, gluons, photons, and muons) are force carriers. How would this work? SIDE NOTE I heard that photons...
  42. R

    Gravity and other fundamental forces

    What is it about gravity that is not yet understood unlike other fundamental forces. Isn't gravity just another force like the other three fundamental forces.
  43. P

    Fundamental Forces and Lie Groups

    Hi all, Sorry, I'm not quite sure that I've posted this question in the proper place, but I figured field theory matches best with lie groups in this context. Anyway, my question has to do with the relationship between the fundamental forces (electromagnetism, weak, and strong) and their...
  44. L

    MSc in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces at ICL

    Hey guys! I got the offer a few weeks ago and I was wondering if anyone knows what to expect when I go there this October. I am feeling kinda nervous about it since getting the offer seems like a longshot when I applied(didnt get 1st, is currently a 2:1). Any advices, thoughts and comments...
  45. A

    Four fundamental forces. Which one is this?

    If you slowly drop an electron onto a proton, you will form a hydrogen atom. In the lowest energy state, it's stable. Why isn't the lowest energy state an electrostatic-driven collapse of proton and electron? More specifically, which of the four fundamental forces pushes back on the...
  46. M

    Four Fundamental Forces: What Are They and How Do They Shape Our World?

    Homework Statement Could someone give me some examples of the four fundamental forces? (Not their definitions) Homework Equations None.. The Attempt at a Solution -Strong nuclear force: -Weak nuclear force: -Electromagnetic force: Starting a car? Picking up paperclips with a...
  47. M

    Do the fundamental forces continue to break down at lower energies?

    First off, I would like to apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong sub-forum. Anyways, I'm sorry if this is an ignorant question, but I am curious as to whether the 4 fundamental forces (electricity and magnetism, gravitation, strong, and weak) would theoretically continue to break down...
  48. Drakkith

    Unifying the Fundamental Forces

    I've read that at certain energy levels the fundamental forces are united or are equal strength. How does the energy level affect the strength of the forces?
  49. E

    What do we need colliders for? (In regard to fundamental forces)

    All the fundamental forces are acting all the time, weak decays etc. So we need colliders so we will have more events per unit time for better analysis? What is the higher energy for? Proton collison of 14 TeV should "blow" the Higgs out for us to see? In general, how does higher energies...
  50. B

    The strength of fundamental forces

    What do we mean by different fundamental forces having different relative strength? And if we already consider electromagnetic and weak interaction to be different manifestations of the same force, how are their relative strengths different?