I'm new this -- super force splitting into weak and strong forces?

1. Aug 30, 2014

Mr.CROWLER

Forgive me if this is a foolish question but, what caused the super force in the early universe to split into the weak and strong forces and obviously without them the universe as we know it wouldn't exsist.

2. Aug 30, 2014

Staff: Mentor

Welcome to the PF.

3. Aug 30, 2014

Mr.CROWLER

Ok thanks but, it was a documentary.

4. Aug 31, 2014

Chalnoth

Generally the mechanism goes by the name of "spontaneous symmetry breaking". This is a very general mechanism, and occurs in many situations. The super short description is that at high temperatures, the symmetry is observed. But at lower temperatures, the bits of space-time near one another tend to prefer to have similar configurations, so that regions of space-time self-organize into the same configuration. The precise configuration they organize into is random, but it is the same across the local region.

This is analogous to a magnet. Terrestrial magnets at high temperatures don't produce any significant magnetic field because the atoms within them are oriented in random directions. But as you drop the temperature, those atoms like to line up so that their individual magnetic moments point in the same direction. So as the metal cools, those atoms line up together. At high temperatures, there was a symmetry in that no particular direction within the material was special, but at low temperatures there is a magnetic field which picks out a particular direction, breaking directional symmetry.

5. Aug 31, 2014

Mr.CROWLER

Thanks a lot for breaking that down for me.

6. Sep 10, 2014

Doofy

Why is the effect of going to high temperatures considered to be unifying the forces into one force rather than effectively destroying/negating all forces? Is this 'super-force' attractive, repulsive or what?

7. Sep 10, 2014

Chalnoth

One way of looking at this is by looking at the effective strengths of the forces. As you go to higher energies, the electromagnetic and strong nuclear forces get effectively weaker, while the weak nuclear force gets effectively stronger. Exactly where the strengths of the forces converge is somewhat model-dependent, but in supersymmetry, they become the same at around $10^{16}$ GeV.

When you get to this energy, all of the force carriers for these three forces would act as if they were different types of the same force carrier.

As for attraction/repulsion, just like the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces, whether or not they are attractive or repulsive at any given time will depend upon the charges involved.

8. Sep 10, 2014

Staff: Mentor

Doesn't the electromagnetic force get stronger at higher energies (i.e., shorter distance scales)?

9. Sep 10, 2014

Doofy

Ah right, that does ring a bell actually, I can remember the plot where the lines almost all converge (and when you invoke SUSY it becomes really close) but it's been ages since I last looked into this stuff. I should really know it automatically by now but it just evaporates from my brain so quickly.

10. Sep 10, 2014

Chalnoth

Yeah, you're right. I misremembered. The EM force does get effectively stronger at higher energies.