What is Fundamental physics: Definition and 19 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. S

    I Models where all symmetries would be approximate?

    I found this interesting discussion here in Physics Forums (https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/are-all-symmetries-in-physics-just-approximations.1005038/) where the topic of all symmetries being approximate is discussed Is there any model (for instance, some type of spacetime metric or...
  2. M

    A Explaining the Hubble tension with fundamental physics

    The Hubble tension or Hubble discrepancy is a contradiction between the Hubble constant as measured today, and the Hubble constant as measured in the early universe and extrapolated to today. @mfb recently listed the relevant measurements. There are some threads about this in the Cosmology...
  3. ChrisXenon

    What is the Fundamental Reason for EMR Diffraction?

    I know the textbook definitions and descriptions of the phenomenon, but I'm hoping for a fundamental WHY. I can see that when a water wave passes an obstacle, the wave spreads out into that object's shadow because the wave's energy is not constrained to any direction and so it will move out in...
  4. Giulio Prisco

    A Physical meaning of "exotic smoothness" in (and only in) 4D

    I see that this has been discussed before, but the old threads are closed. As Carl Brans and others note, it seems too big a coincidence to ignore. Why is exotic smoothness "good" (in the sense that it permits richer physics or something like that)? Exotic Smoothness and Physics,arXiv "there...
  5. L

    I Paul Steinhardt's cyclic model

    Hello. I think I don't understand very well the Paul Steinhardt's cyclic model of Universe(s). According to Paul Steinhardt, 2 universes get closer. Then, there's the big bounce, which products effects like a big bang. If 2 universes get closer, they have a (relative) speed ( speed is the...
  6. L

    Studying Research topic related to extended bodies on GR

    I'm in a graduate course in Physics to obtain a master's degree. I have a major in mathematical physics and my main interests are General Relativity (GR), Quantum Field Theory on Curved Spacetimes (QFTCS), and usual Quantum Field Theory (QFT) itself. My interest is in the fundamental physics...
  7. Astronaut

    Is Stress dependent on the material properties?

    I have this fundamental question about stress and strain. If we apply same Force on two different objects of same geometry in the same configurations, will they experience the same stress? If yes, then does it imply that stress is independent of the internal material properties?
  8. tesselate

    James Webb space telescope and fundamental physics

    Does JWST has any significance in fundamental physics research? What kind of questions would we get answers to?
  9. T

    Book recommendation on fundamental physics in Graphene

    I am a condensed matter grad. student, but do not work on Graphene. I am interested in learning about the fundamental physics in graphene (e.g. the need to use Dirac equation to represent the motion of electrons). I know that many books are there, but not all are geared towards fundamental...
  10. A

    What is the most *Fundamental* theory in physics?

    I want to ask that what should be considered the most fundamental in physics I.e. whether the Standard Model or Dimensional units or the fundamental forces?
  11. Ackbach

    MHB Hilarious post on Fundamental Physics Prize

    I thought this post was hilarious, especially the paragraph right before the first Update.
  12. R

    Nominations Welcomed for Fundamental Physics Prize

    Online nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Fundamental Physics Prize. If you haven't heard of this new initiative, see http://www.fundamentalphysicsprize.org/news1 . The full information is included below. Thank you for your time, Rob Meyer Administrator ___ Online...
  13. D

    Fundamental Physics Prize - $27 million awarded

    Who said is there any money in Physics? http://fundamentalphysicsprize.org/news.html New annual US$3 million Fundamental Physics Prize recognizes transformative advances in the field Inaugural nine recipients of the Prize receive US$27 million in aggregate, all of whom agree to form a...
  14. P

    Evaluation fundamental physics

    There is an article in the field of relativity (not homework) that need evaluation, please advise institutes that might do that??
  15. phys-if

    How Does the Equation F→∏ A l Z Relate to Fundamental Physics?

    I came across this. I guess you could say. F→∏ A l Z ...or... F→∏ AlZ The third symbol is supposed to be upside down. Does that matter?(The ∏ symbol) And between the symbol A and Z the line is supposed to be a tall line. (Not an L or I) Does this make sense?
  16. R

    Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research

    http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/08/bell-labs-kills.html" Six Nobel-prize worthy research came from that lab, including the invention of the silicon transistor, and the laser! It was a business decision by the parent company but, I think it's a very myopic business decision to abandon...
  17. S

    Fundamental Physics reasoning books

    Hey guys...I always tend to ask a lot questions...so I was wondering if you guys know of some books out there which is very fundamental and explains its reasoning on every step of its way as if it was made for kindergarten but covers advanced topics? Fields I am interested in...
  18. J

    What are the fundamental physics equations?

    Howdy all, I've begun to get started in learning about physics, but am still lightyears removed from any of the mathematical aspects of the science. Thus I am now looking to move from themes to numbers (and I'm kinda nervous :rolleyes: lol) Anyway, here's where I'm heading currently...
  19. Loren Booda

    The most fundamental physics that we can observe directly with our senses?

    What is the most fundamental physics that we can observe directly with our senses?