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Is it possible that the Strong Force and gravity are the same thing?

  1. May 22, 2012 #1
    Because the Strong Force and gravity are both forces that attract, could they actually be the same thing, manifesting in different ways at different distances?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2012 #2


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    PeterLouis, Welcome to Physics Forums!

    Do you have some reference material or some source I can read to study up on your idea? Have you read anything about this idea? If so, please post it here.

    True, both the Strong Force and Gravity are attractive forces. But they seem to have hugely different strengths and also, the S.F. only acts over tiny distances. G. acts over astronomical distances.
  4. May 22, 2012 #3
    I have no source material - actually just thought of this question, which seems to be pretty basic, but can find no discussion of it on the internet.
    And, thanks for making me feel welcome!

    Agreed that these two forces "have hugely different strengths," etc., but is there any possible way they can be the same thing in different iterations? Whether the answer is "no," "we don't know" or "maybe," I would love an explanation.
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  5. May 22, 2012 #4


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    PeterLouis, Google is your friend. Never before has mankind (that means you and I) had so much information at our fingertips! We live in the information age, and you can become a part of it. Learn how to find stuff and you will learn lots. As you progress you will begin to recognize the whackos and crackpots who post BS, and just ignore them. It is easy to find reliable sources you can trust to give the straight scoop on scientific questions. For example, using Google I found these four sites concerning the "strong force":


    Just to get you started, I suggest the last one first, then the other three.

    Then, when you are finished, Google "gravity" and compare the two. I am confident you can decide if they are "the same thing in different iterations" or not. If you have any questions or doubts about what you find, then come right back here and post them. Members here are always ready to help if they can.
  6. May 22, 2012 #5
    Hi members.
    I was thinking that there is two differences between the two.
    1. S.F. doesn't follow inverse square law WHILE G. follows it.
    2. G. Force is conservative in nature but for the strong force it is not found yet.
  7. May 22, 2012 #6

    I've heard suggestions (e.g. Griffits in his "Introduction to Elementary Particles") that if singlet gluon could be photon itself then it would be beautiful unification of the electrodynamics with strong force, but have never actually heard of suggestion that it's connected to gravity. I think this line of thought is a dead end.
  8. May 22, 2012 #7


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    In both of your posts, you have provided no reasons for your thinking on why they should be the same thing. Instead, everyone else has brought the characteristics of the two that make them VERY different.

    This is not how we do science, I.e. by shooting at things in the dark. If you cannot provide source material or rational reasons for something, then you are making baseless speculation, which in violation of the PF rules.

  9. May 22, 2012 #8
    ZapperZ: If we lived in the 15th century and I asked, "Could the world be round?" would you tell me that is not how we do science?

    Bobbywhy: There is nothing on any of the sites you mentioned that specifically addresses the question I posed.

    I asked a legitimate, and obvious question and am being criticized for asking it. Yet there is no clear response.
  10. May 22, 2012 #9
    The physical theories of gravity and the strong force are very different. For instance, the strong force is described by QCD which is a quantum field theory and gravity is described by the non-quantum theory of general relativity. I would say there is clear response to your question among physicists - gravity and QCD are not the same thing. People with more insight in these theories will be able to provide you with good explanations of the differences between the theories. What is vague in the answers you have received?
  11. May 22, 2012 #10
    Kloptok: Thank you - although details are still wanting.
    While these two forces have very different evident characteristics, note the way the question asked: "is it possible..." The fact that they ultimately do the same thing, begs the question.
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  12. May 22, 2012 #11


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    It actually doesn't beg the question. Just because two things have one property in common doesn't really suggest that they're the same, but OK suppose you want to pursue that line. Like has been said above, we know the description of the strong force in terms of QCD, no such description exists for gravity. One can go into a long description along this lines, but I don't want to go into it here. One striking feature is that gravity is manifestly long ranged, while the strong force obviously is not. This alone tells you there is something fundamentally different about the two forces.

    You can always ask 'is it possible...' no matter how robust our understanding of physics is. The nature of science is not to ever absolutely exclude such things, but at a certain point the question becomes extremely unproductive. And unless you are talking about some grand unified theory (which I highly suspect you were not, judging by your posts), we're at that point for the low energy description of the strong force and gravity.
  13. May 22, 2012 #12
    Probably, since even Ancient Greeks knew that the Earth is round. See Erathostenes.
  14. May 22, 2012 #13
    I fear that I am becoming a nuisance. Nevertheless:

    The one property they have in common - they each attract mass - is the very thing that determines them to be fundamental forces - so whether they are actually different, or somehow just different expressions of the same thing, goes to the heart of the matter. Despite the fact of their obvious differences, obvious similarities are glaring

    Regarding "descriptions," I refer you to the parable of the blind men describing an elephant: The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope, etc.

    Differing descriptions does not establish dissimilarity.
  15. May 22, 2012 #14


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    There's nothing with asking questions so long as you take on board the answers. To use your own analogy, you are the blind man grabbing an elephant leg in one hand and a pillar in the other and not listening to the people with sight telling you why they are not the same.
  16. May 22, 2012 #15
    As for your blind men describing an elephant, we do have some suspicion that all four (three now) fundamental forces are manifestations of the same one, though we're pretty sure we should unify the Electroweak and Strong forces before we unify that with Gravity.

    Another obvious difference is the fact that Gravity and the Strong force have different charges.
  17. May 22, 2012 #16


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    Probably not, because the scientific method was far less understood then.

    But if we were to apply the scientific method in that context, the answer you would hear would indeed be: "Yes, it is possible that the Earth is round, but that's not how we do science."

    Now, if you were to try statements along the lines of:
    - "If the world were round, it would be possible to sail east and come back to your starting point from the west - and somehow you'd have recorded the passage of one fewer day - that would be an interesting experiment that would tell us something about the shape of the earth".
    - "If the world were round, that would explain why its shadow on the moon appears curved during a lunar eclipse - we've looked at the eclipse last night, and damned if the shadow wasn't curved".
    - "If the world is round, there should be places where the sun is precisely exactly overhead at noon. Do we know of any, or could we find some?" (One of the reasons the Greeks believed the earth was round is that they had found such a place).

    you'd get a very different and much more open reception from the (hypothetical) 15th-century scientific community.
  18. May 22, 2012 #17
    The strong force acts only on quarks and gluons. The gravity acts on everything. There's a huge difference right there.
  19. May 22, 2012 #18
    Ryan M B: you are telling me to "just believe" people who know more then me, without offering details.

    Aside from differences based on distance, in this whole discussion, only two facts have been stated explaining why these two forces couldn't be the same:
    1) Gravity and the Strong force have different charges
    2) S.F. doesn't follow inverse square law WHILE G. follows it.

    This is not enough proof to overcome the presumption of similarity based on observation.

    Gravity and EMF clearly do different things. One is an apple and one is a zebra.
    Gravity and SF look like they do the same thing: attract. Perhaps one is a Red Delicious and one is a Macintosh (no pun intended). While I am not advocating any position, the burden of proof is on those advocating positions which refute observable truth: that they both are apples.
  20. May 22, 2012 #19
    This thread deserves to be deleted.
  21. May 22, 2012 #20
    When did science become so antagonistic to questions "outside the box"?
    If this is such a silly question, where is conclusive answer?
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